After today’s games there are three teams with more wins in the major leagues than the Brewers– the Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees. They’re seventh in offense WAR and tenth in pitching WAR.
I don’t think there can be anything more satisfying within the realm of being a sports fan as to watch a baseball team assemble a talented group of players and then having it work out. Maybe it’s the nature of baseball, in which there are usually only a handful of teams with aspirations of winning a World Series and it takes a long period of time to build a team even capable of making the playoffs. There have been setbacks, and in response to those setbacks there have been adjustments made. The bullpen starts blowing games? Get K-Rod. Weeks goes down? Get Hairston and Lopez.
For years we lamented a pitching staff that couldn’t strike anybody out and walked the ballpark. We got a team with the 4th highest strikeout rate in baseball, and the 4th lowest walk rate. We talked about how the defense might keep this team from contending, but have watched them put up a positive UZR on the year (thanks to Carlos Gomez). We’ve talked about how Yuniesky Betancourt and Casey McGehee could hold this team back from achieving a playoff berth, and then watched them come alive in July and August and winning a couple of games for the Brewers almost single-handedly.
I’ve been consistently writing about the Brewers for 3 years now, and this summer has forced me to take a step back and really think hard about things to write about, for the simple reason that there is not much to complain about. Complaining is also fun. But there’s something to be said about how just about everything we’ve attempted to complain about this season has turned out for the best for the team. Cut Kotsay! DFA Betancourt! Find a lefty for the bullpen! Might there have been better routes forward than the ones taken by Melvin? Sure, but no one can argue with the results. I still think that playing Hairston every day at short would put the team in a better position to win. But the way things are going I just expect it to work out in the favor of the Brewers.
This year certainly has that special feel to it. The pieces are in place and it’s going to be quite an experience to watch this team continue throughout August and September. I assume there will be other setbacks, and adjustments to compensate. But for the first time in my lifetime, the Brewers have a team that can win the World Series, and I’m going to sit back and enjoy the ride.