Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Improbable Streak

The Milwaukee Brewers are currently on a very unlikely winning streak that every fan should be soaking in. Not only is the Brew Crew the first team ever to win eight in a row after starting the season 2-8, but most of their hitters are not performing well and pitching, what was considered their weakest area, is carrying the team. Let’s take a look at this improbable, but enjoyable streak.

First off the Brewers had absolutely no momentum heading into the streak. At 2-8 they were easily one of the worst teams in the league, sitting in the cellar with the likes of the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros. On top of a poor record Milwaukee was down two key members of their lineup in Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez. Everything else was in a funk too, pitchers were only going 5 innings into games, the bullpen was blowing leads and most of the lineup was barely piecing together hits.

What helped turn the Brewers around was their pitching. Currently Milwaukee’s pitching staff has 2.84 ERA and the bullpen is performing at the same level as the 2011 bullpen in the second half of the season with a 1.32 ERA. Before the steak Milwaukee was in a horrible place. Axford was reliving his woes from the 2012 season with a 24.30 ERA in his first four appearances. Mike Fiers was in the bullpen after pitching poorly enough to get kicked out of the rotation. Ron Roenicke helped turn the pitching around by shortening Axford’s leash and replacing Fiers with a hot minor league hand in Hiram Burgos. By putting his best players on the field, Roenicke is helping this team jump ahead of the pack.

Now the most impressive part of the streak isn’t what was happening before it, but what is happening during. Five of the Brewers eight regular starters aren’t even hitting above .260 and three hitters are hitting under .200. Right now Milwaukee is thriving off big hits, but the fact that they are winning without two of their key power pieces and Ryan Braun slumping is astounding. Braun is the definition of Milwaukee’s hitting during the winning streak. His average is below Braun’s normal mark, but the Brewers three-hole hitter has a .759 SLG with 13 RBI. His only hits are coming in key run producing moments, while almost every other moment has gone to waste.

So Milwaukee probably shouldn’t be in this situation, they are. They should probably still have bad pitchers and with a poor team batting average and missing key components, their lineup shouldn’t be able to produce a run. The thing is they are producing, they are pitching and they are winning. Enjoy it Brewers fans, the great thing about baseball is sometimes all you need is a little luck.


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