It’s the halfway point of the season, and the Milwaukee Brewers boast the best record in baseball, 49-32. This start is also a franchise record for the midpoint of a season. The pitching, both starting and relief, has been stellar and injury-free, and the hitting has come at all spots in the lineup. Despite this success, the pesky St. Louis Cardinals are still hovering around the top of the NL Central, being only 5.5 games behind the Brewers.
It’s clear the NL Central will be a tight race barring a complete collapse by a club. So can the Brewers manage to continue this success and make the playoffs? I think they can.
The pitchers the Brewers have are the best bunch I have ever seen in my life. I remember the days when the Brewers rotation consisted of guys like Ruben Quevado, Matt Kinney, Wayne Franklin, and the like.
Wow. Those days were bad.
The Brewers have never had such a great rotation as they do today. The Brewers had something going with Ben Sheets and Chris Capuano, but that was all they had. Bringing C.C. Sabathia in 2008 aided Sheets and Yovani Gallardo. Bringing in Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum in 2011 strengthened the rotation enough to make the postseason. You’ll notice, though, that never did the Brewers have a strong FIVE man rotation. It’s always been one to three solid guys and two guys who aren’t cut for bolstering the back end of the rotation.
But now the Brewers have three aces (or they at least were aces once) in Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, and Matt Garza. Add to that a possible future ace in Wily Peralta and a solid number four starter in Marco Estrada and the Brewers starting rotation has a recipe for success. These five guys have an average ERA of 3.74, which will continue to go down as Marco Estrada begins throwing well again.
Then there’s the bullpen. Milwaukee has a shutdown closer in Francisco Rodriguez, who has collected 26 saves this year out of 28 chances. Lefties Will Smith and Zach Duke have been masterful, with ERAs of 1.43 and 1.44 respectively. Brandon Kintzler has been coming back to his early season form, and Tyler Thornburg is doing the same. While the bullpen has been used a bunch, Milwaukee could acquire another late inning arm at the trade deadline to help solidify their first place run, but at the moment, I’m a huge fan of this collection of relievers.
Except maybe Wang. He can go.
And Jim Henderson needs to figure out what the heck is going on.
The point is that this bullpen can actually be counted on to seal up wins. Why do you think the Brewers starters have nice win-loss records? The bullpen is finishing what they start.
And then there’s the offense that’s crushing the ball. Scooter Gennett and Rickie Weeks have been successful in platooning second base. Jonathan Lucroy is insane at the dish right now (.328 average and .399 OBP), Carlos Gomez is picking up where he left off (.897 OPS), Ryan Braun is getting on base for those guys (40 runs scored), and Aramis Ramirez has come off the disabled list like a bat out of hell. In the last ten games, he’s seen his average go from .274 to .296 and driven in 12 runs.
What’s not to love about this team? They have all the pieces, and I’m a believer that they will make it to October.