The Brewers are only 39 runs from being one game ahead of the the historically great 2016 Chicago Cubs in the Central Division.
It may be hard to comprehend how a team that is supposed to be in full rebuild mode, can actually be a lot closer to contention than most had predicted. But looking at how close some of the Brewers many losses have been, and you’ll find the Crew is a lot closer to being great again.
First, we look to the past with a crazy view. So far this season, the Brewers have lost 12 one-run games. To go along with that, they have also lost five two-run games. With some simple addition and subtraction, the Brewers have lost a combined 17 games by a total of 22 runs. Now of course to turn those losses into wins, you need to do more than just tie the opposing team, so back to the calculator we go. To win those 17 one-run and two-run games, the Brewers would have had to score 39 more runs.
It may sound crazy, these 39 runs, but it is a mere 2.29 more runs per game within those 17 games, granted that is quite a few more Chris Carter dingers and Ryan Braun RBIs. The Brewers could also be getting those runs back with better pitching. Maybe Chase Anderson doesn’t leave a fastball over the middle of the plate or maybe Jimmy Nelson goes just one inning deeper into a game. But, that is still a lot of ifs, ands, and buts that would need to happen to put the Brewers at 52-25 atop of the NL Central.
So, we dial back the crazy. Just look at the one-run games. 12 one-run games mean 24 runs to win all of those games. This would change the Brewers record to 47-30, well ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Wild Card and within striking distance of the Cubs for the NL Central top spot.
24 runs may still seem like a large amount of runs, but those 24 runs could have come from Domingo Santana, who has been stuck on the DL due to injuries. Part of it could also have come from Matt Garza being healthy from the season opener, and Wily Peralta being sent down sooner before posting a 6.68 ERA and 4-7 record.
But, injuries happen and some pitchers regress, that is baseball. So let’s get into a more realistic view. Say the Brewers won half of the 12 one-run games, that is only 12 runs to make up. A lot less ifs, ands and buts. If the Brewers won just half of their one-run losses, they would be 40-36, tied for second in the NL Central and only half a game back of the Miami Marlins for the second Wild Card Spot.
The Brewers are rebuilding, but maybe that rebuild won’t take as long as everyone had predicted when it began last year. After a slew of trades and signings made by first year GM David Stearns, maybe most of the pieces of the Brewers future are already here, as evidenced by only being 12 runs away from second in their division and within half a game of the Wild Card.
Keep in mind, the Brewers now have one of the top farm systems in the major leagues to go along with what is already at playing at Miller Park. Prized prospects like Orlando Arcia, Brett Phillips and Josh Hader are also still developing into stars in the minor leagues. Not to mention the Brewers just used their fifth overall pick in the draft to pick collegiate standout Corey Ray.
That 12-run difference becomes even less daunting when you consider the talent that is on it’s way up the pipeline.
*All stats from mlb.com
*Photo courtesy of Getty Images.