Monday, August 29, 2011

2 for 1 Special: We're in Beer Haven

81-54. That's the current record of the Milwaukee Brewers after sweeping the rival Chicago Cubs once again at Miller Park.

50-16. That's the current home record of the Milwaukee Brewers, the best in baseball by a long shot.

10-0. That's starting pitcher Zack Greinke's record at Miller Park, where he also sports an ERA under 3.00.

.334. That's the batting average of MVP candidate Ryan Braun, who is only two points behind Jose Reyes for the NL lead and fourth in all of baseball.

102. That's the number of RBIs that MVP candidate Prince Fielder has, which is good enough for 1st in the National League.

37. That's the number of consecutive saves for closer John Axford, who has 40 overall and is tied for the league lead in converted saves.

10.5. That's the number of games the St. Louis Cardinals are behind the Beermakers, who will square off in the three game series at Miller Park starting Tuesday.

18. That's the magic number for the Milwaukee Brewers to clinch the Central Division, their first division title in almost 30 years.

5. The number of games the Brewers trail the Philadelphia Phillies by for home field advantage in the playoffs. The two teams meet in Milwaukee for a four game series September 8-11.

What in blazes is going on in Milwaukee? I'm hoping my last post previewing the Packers got you psyched up for football, but those numbers I just threw at you regarding the Brew Crew has me even more jacked up - and it should have the same effect on you. All of those statistics are incredible and some of them were completely unexpected, but even though the personal achievements Braun and King are on their way to earning and Greinke and Axford have achieved, the most important figure to me is "5." The Brewers are only five games behind the Phillies for the National League crown. It's almost impossible to stress just how important this would be for the Crew to obtain. I think everyone is with me when I say that I have more confidence in the Crew's performance at home compared to on the road, although the play away from Miller Park has been MUCH improved post-All-Star break. I know we are still about a week and a half away from the Phillies series (I'll be attending the Friday night game fyi), but imagine if the Brewers could manage to shave another game or two off of Philly's league lead...exciting.

Now I was away from the computer for about three days which is why I was a little late on the Packers' season preview and missed a lot of the Brewers' sweep, so I don't have all that much to mention regarding the Cubs series. However, there was a rather significant roster move made this weekend. Relief pitcher Tim Dillard, who hasn't been receiving much work with the Brewers rarely finding themselves in cleanup mode, was optioned to Triple-A and guess who was recalled? That's right...Taylor mother effing Green. It only took the Brewers about two and a half months to heed my advice, but better late than never is what I say. If you haven't heard of Green, consider the numbers he put up in the minors this season - .336 AVG, 22 HR, 88 RBI in 120 games. Holy smokes. So why did the Brewers decide to make the move just before rosters expand in September? Manager Ron Roenicke denied that it was so Green could be eligible for the postseason roster, but let's get real...that's why this move was made. It's mindboggling that Green wasn't called up earlier than this in the first place, so it seems strange that the Brewers would wait until now to do it. My guess is because Milwaukee wants to make sure the bench, and the starting lineup for that matter, is as solid as possible heading into the playoffs, and Green could be a guy that shores it up.

Of course, we'll see guys like Mat Gamel, Wily Peralta and Dillard on the squad once rosters expand along with possibly a few others, but calling up Green now HAD to happen. His numbers are just too good, and it has to be seen if he can translate that success to the big league level and contribute to the Brewers. Some might wonder why Gamel wasn't given the same opportunity, but I think it's apparent that Gamel doesn't succeed in a part time roll and his real moment will come next season at first base should King be lost in free agency. It could be argued that reliever Frankie De La Cruz could be sent down for Gamel since he's rarely used as well, but I guess Milwaukee decided Gamel had already gotten a legitimate chance this season. Both Gamel and Green have absolutely torn up the Pacific League and hopefully in the near future they will both tear up Major League Baseball. So who else might warrant a call-up to the Bigs?

OF - Logan Schaefer (.331 average at Nashville)
OF - Caleb Gindl (.311 average, 15 HR, 58 RBI)
RHP - Mike McCledon (5-4, 2.80 ERA in relief)
RHP - Mike DeFelice (2-1, 2.17 ERA in relief)
LHP - Danny Herrera (well...maybe not)

Isn't it fun to talk about these things instead of complaining about sucking on the road or Casey McGehee being awful? Well, McGehee is still doing his best impersonation of an incompetent third baseman in the field, but now that Green is up, I'll be able to whine about how he isn't playing enough. If that's my biggest worry at this point of the season, I guess I'll take it. As long as the Brewers can take care of business in this three game set against that idiot Tony LaRussa, all that will be left to do is evaluate the team and decide who makes the 25-man playoff roster. Excuse me if I sound giddy...these are uncharted waters for a lifelong Brewer fan.

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