Brewers are on a tear

The Milwaukee Brewers are doing something that people in Milwaukee aren’t used to; they are winning a lot. They have held the best record in the National League for the majority of the season. One of the reason’s the Brewers are doing so well is some of their off-season acquisitions.

The Brewers acquired Lorenzo Cain (OF) from the Kansas City Royals and Christian Yelich (OF) from the Miami Marlins. The addition of these two to the lineup has had an immediate impact. Cain has the highest on- base percentage for the team, and Yelich is second. The Brewers are known for being a home run hitting team, but with Cain and Yelich they are scoring runs the old-fashioned way and these two are the igniters.

The team still has power though in players like Travis Shaw, Eric Thames and Jesus Aguilar. Sometimes it’s hard to find room for all the players in the lineup. Thames was out for 7 weeks with a thumb injury, which allowed Aguilar regular playing time. Aguilar took advantage of his time as an everyday starter and flourished. Aguilar currently leads the team in runs batted in and home runs.

Another reason the team deserves kudos is their bullpen. The way of pitching has changed and starters are no longer going late into games. The bullpen picks up the slack and holds on tight. Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress hold steady in the middle of the game and eat up innings. Jeffress has a 1.19 earned run average (ERA) and Hader has a 1.13. Hader is sure to be on the All Star team this year.  The rest of the bullpen has been great too.

The Brewers also have called up a lot of minor league players for their bullpen and the players have come through. Brent Suter, who started in the bullpen, has transitioned into a starter again and has the most wins for the team.

The Brewers have a really great farm system and keep players coming up and down. This allows for flexibility in the lineup and also for pitching. Some players have had multiple trips up and down, but they take it in stride.

The hardest challenge for the Brewers has been consistency. The team will win most decidedly one day and then the next will struggle to score one run. Baseball is a game of ups and downs and is also a long season, but Manager Craig Counsell said, “It’s a little bit of (just) baseball but I think that can happen when . . . we’ve got to get some consistency from spots in our lineup.”

The Brewers lead the majors with being shut out 10 times, which is two more than all of 2017. They do have short memories though and bounce back the next game with a 7-3 record following the shutouts.

Last season the Brewers had a second half meltdown; the team wants to avoid that this season. If they do that, there’s just a possibility that this winning team might make the playoffs. The last time the Brewers were in the playoffs was in 2011.