In 2017 the Milwaukee Brewers finished the regular season with a respectable record of 86-76, six games behind the Chicago Cubs. But today one the last day of the regular season they are 94-67 , tied with Chicago for first place. They have clinched a playoff spot in a stirring drive that surpassed almost one’s expectations for the team. After the Brewers hired young David Stearns to be the general manager just 3 years ago, analysts expected that the team would provide fans with agonizing and mediocre baseball for years to come. One local writer declared that Stearns was in way over his head.
However last year showed that the team was within reach of the playoffs if they shored up some weaknesses in the outfield and the pitching. There were several highly paid starting pitchers available through trades and free agency but the team spurned off of them. They signed Jhoulys Chacin to be their number one starting pitcher and they smartly picked up players like Wade Miley who had been discarded by other teams. Their most significant move was in early January when they traded for Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich the same day they signed Lorenzo Cain as a free agent to shore up their outfield. The number crunchers weren’t pleased because neither player profiled as a power hitter. That’s why they tell wait until they play the game. Yelich leads the team in almost every batting statistic and has seemingly willed the team to keep winning during the pennant drive. Cain still isn’t hitting homers but he makes solid contact and often draws walks from pitchers dying to pitch to Yelich.
The team provides thrills with comebacks sparked by a host of hitters including Ryan Braun who the number guys had been urging them to trade. Never mind the fact Braun has the right to veto any such trade and wasn’t going anywhere. Jesus Aguilar hit everything in sight during the first half of the season when some people thought he might be a candidate for most valuable player. The Brewers traded for Travis Shaw in a very one-sided deal that has worked out extremely well. And the Brewers were making deals all the way up to August 31st. Fans have been on the edge of their seats even while site such as ESPN kept patiently waiting for the Cubs to overcome them. Milwaukee kept inching closer and closer and pitchers Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and Corbin Burnes kept inducing batters to strike out. The Brewers even overcame controversy surrounding a young reliever Josh Hader, a fastballer who was almost unhittable at times. Hader was revealed to have posted some very ugly tweets several years ago but his teammates literally stood behind him.
This is clearly the most excitement the Brewers have provided since the days of Braun, Prince Fielder and CC Sabathia and the bonus is that the core of team will remain with them for several years to come. Like Yelich said, let’s go.