Since last Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers have gone 7-1 and on the season are now 35-20. They hold the largest division lead in baseball at four games over the Chicago Cubs.
With the injuries and lack of impact starting pitching (some would say), the fact the Brewers are this good, this early is quite surprising. The acquisitions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich surely have a lot to do with the team’s success as they both now sport .289 and .310 batting averages, respectively.
But the resurgence of Jonathan Villar at the plate, the renaissance of Jesús Aguilar and the consistency of Junior Guerra are huge reasons the Brewers seemingly cannot lose games.
These are the reasons why the Brewers have won their last five series, which gets us to our first reaction.
The Brewers will never lose a series again
The Brewers have not just beaten your run-of-the-mill teams in their last five series wins. All of their opponents in the last five series have been contenders.
They have beaten the Arizona Diamondbacks twice, the Colorado Rockies, the Minnesota Twins and the New York Mets. They have been winning in a variety of ways.
Sometimes it is superhuman pitching efforts, such as the 1-0 win over the Diamondbacks last Tuesday. Jhoulys Chacin, Matt Albers, Josh Hader and Corey Knebel combined for 10 strikeouts and only allowed three hits on the night.
Other times it is All-Star caliber offense that fuels the Crew to a victory. In a 17-6 Saturday win over the Mets, that is exactly what happened. The Brewers combined for 19 total hits and outfielders Cain and Yelich combined to get on base nine times, score six runs and drive in another four.
Then there is the “they shouldn’t have won that game” style of victory like the 8-7 win on Sunday against the Mets. At varying points in the game the Brewers were down, including being down 6-4 in the seventh inning. A clutch double by Domingo Santana pushed the Brewers back into the lead for good.
All of this was in the last week. Name a way for the Brewers to win and they’ve probably already done it. They also drew a walk for a walk-off win last week.
They won 8-3 Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals so they could easily take one of the next two. Then the Crew heads to Chicago to take on the White Sox and should be able to take care of business against one of the worst teams in baseball.
After that, though, the Crew’s two road series against the Cleveland Indians and the Philadelphia Phillies might be a road block.
Obviously the Brewers will lose another series at some point this season, but it sure is going to be fun to see how long the streak will last.
The Brewers won’t make any more trades this season
If you know anything about the Brewer’s general manager David Stearns, it’s that he is wheeling and dealing.
Whether it be the waiver wire, free agents, minor league trades or major league trades, Stearns has earned the nickname Slingin’ Stearns. But, for the sake of argument, let’s play the “what if” game.
What if Villar and Tyler Saladino solidify the bottom half of the rotation and the middle part of the infield? Both are hitting near .300 and each have three homeruns on the season. They’ve also combined for 21 RBIs.
What if Manny Pina finds some semblance of the offense he flashed in 2017 and he keeps picking off would-be base stealers?
What if the starting pitching keeps their slightly-lower-than league average ERA in tact and Jimmy Nelson comes back looking like it’s 2017 again? Junior Guerra sure looks like his old self sporting a 2.98 ERA over 48.1 innings.
Finally, what if the Brewers bullpen continues to dominate, break records and Josh Hader is an NL Cy Young finalist?
There isn’t much to not love or at least like about this team and organization. There also are not a lot of impact players on the trading block. I don’t doubt Stearns will make more waiver wire deals, as he seemingly always is, but as the team continues to be consistent and win, this feels like a take I’m willing to buy.
Verdict: Dead on
Lukewarm take: Lorenzo Cain is good at baseball
Cain is leading the National League in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) with 2.8, just beating out fellow Brewer Travis Shaw, who has 2.5 WAR. Having a consistent hitter like Cain to sit at the top of the batting order is crucial.
He has 34 walks on the season to lead the team in that category. Those walks go hand in hand with his hitting line of .289/.396/.444. He also has 11 stolen bases to lead the team.
Cain is the best all-around player on the Brewers roster and he is most definitely good at baseball.