On opening day, expectations for the 2013 Brewers’ were far from high when the staff at Disciples of Uecker weighted in with their thoughts. The Brewers’ predicted win totals ranged from 80 to 87 but averaged out to about 83. After winning only 29 out of their first 71 games, a .408 WP%, it will take an extremely strong second half of the season to achieve even an 83-win season. In fact, the Brewers’ would have to play more like the Pirates or Reds and win 54 out of their remaining 91 games, a .593 WP%, to reach 83 wins. While that goal didn’t seem so improbable at the start of the season, it becomes a dimmer dream with each subsequent loss.
If the Brewers’ continue to win games at their current winning percentage, they will finish the season at 67-95. The last time the Brewers’ organization won less than 70 games in a season was 2003 (68-94) and 2004 (67-94). While a stronger second half isn’t out of the question, overall expectations must be significantly lowered. So, how can Brewers’ fans salvage this season?
As seen last year, the addition of a second wild card spot kept teams competitive later into the season. But the Brewers are already 13 games under .500 and 13 games back in the Wild Card Standings – only the Mets and Marlins are farther out of the race. With the struggles in the starting rotation and lingering injuries to Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Braun, and Corey Hart, it’s hard to see how this team can play their way back into contention. And some Brewers’ fans are beginning to hope that they won’t.
Not that these fans are actively rooting for the team to lose. It’s just that, as the chance to make the playoffs slips further and further from the team’s grasps, the best direction for the Brewers organization may be to trade away some of their current impact talent to help upgrade and restock their minor league system. Playing the long game may be to the club’s benefit but harder for the fans to stomach.
So, I went searching for some silver linings to this season. A few Brewers’ will be hunting career benchmarks and some have their sights set on breaking team single season records. Here are a few to keep your eyes on over the next few months.
300 saves for K-Rod
This will happen soon. Currently, K-Rod has 299 saves over his 12-year career. Even with Jim Henderson’s return from the DL, the Brewers seem intent on getting K-Rod to this career milestone, which would tie him for 23rd on the all time saves list. After joining the 300 Club, K-Rod could, as Disciples of Uecker profiled earlier this week, become decent trade bait, if he continues to pitch well.
2,000 hits for Aramis Ramirez
Though he struggled during the latest road trip (3/29), Ramirez needs only 4 more hits to reach 2,000 for his career. Currently, his 1,996 career hits is 15th most amongst active players. In addition, Ramirez should reach 1,000 career runs scored, as he currently has 982 runs. Finally, Ramirez also has 1,246 career RBIs. So, if he stays healthy, there’s a chance Ramirez could cross the 1,300 RBI threshold this season.
BREWERS’ SINGLE-SEASON RECORDS
Paul Molitor set this single-season record for the Brewers’ in 1979. Currently, both Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez have eight triples in only 71 games. It seems inevitable that either Segura and/or Gomez should crack the top five for triples in a single season. Here are the players they’ll be chasing –
Besides being on track to crack the Brewers’ top five for triples, in a single season, Jean Segura’s stellar start to the season has him contending to add his name to a few more single season records.
Segura probably won’t surpass the organization’s single season steals record of 73, but Segura’s 22 steals puts him on a pace to snag around 50 bags this year. If he does, it would be the fourth most bases stolen in a season for the organization. Here are the top ten coming into this season –
* Done as a Seattle Pilot
35 Infield Hits
Segura’s speed also lends to a ton of infield hits. So far this season, he’s managed to leg out 24 of them. Not too bad for less than half a season. Surprisingly, the Brewers’ single season record for infield hits sits at 35 – accomplished by both Pat Listach, 1992, and Fernando Vina, 1998. That mark seems ready to fall to Segura sometime this season.
The infield hits are also helping push Segura to an even more impressive goal. Through the first 71 team games, Segura has smacked 93 hits. That averages out to 1.3 hits per game. If Segura maintains that rate for the entire 2013 season, he’ll end up with around 210 hits and land in the Brewers’ record books. Here’s the Brewers’ top ten single season hit leaders –
367 Total Bases
It looks like 2013 is turning into the season that Carlos Gomez puts it all together. Besides the great defense –
Gomez has been hitting for a high average (.317) and providing plenty of power (12 HR). That combination has resulted in Gomez racking up 154 Total Bases through the first 71 games. Averaging 2.17 TB per game mean that, at his current rate, Gomez could reach 350 TB this season. That impressive feat would find it’s way into Brewers’ history. Here are the players Gomez is chasing to reach the top ten in TB for a single season –
These quests for career or single season records are no replacement for a fan craving a playoff birth, but, hopefully, they’ll provide some highlights for, and distractions from, what has quickly become a lost season.
In the end, the clear silver lining to this Brewers’ season is the emergence of Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura as truly dynamic players. And it’s a silver lining Brewers’ fan can enjoy for the rest of this season and many more to come.