The Milwaukee Brewers were left out of the top 10 on most MLB Preseason Power Rankings. Hell, even on our staff had little faith in the Brew Crew this season.
“The Brewers will miss the playoffs because the rotation will hold them back. Jimmy Nelson will come back in July, but will never get on track. The rest of the rotation is not enough to support a strong offense, and they finish just behind Arizona and the Cardinals in the NL.”-Jake Bridges, PitcherList.com
Hell, even I didn’t believe in the Brewers chances.
“The Milwaukee Brewers will lead the entire league in runs and wins in the first half and then absolutely tank in the second.”– A Professional Moron
I apologize. I was wrong. I was very wrong.
It took the Brewers 163 games to finish off their season, but when they did they were sitting atop the NL Central, as well as the entire National League. The Brew Crew had won the regular season.
Their quest to greatness didn’t happen overnight, but it did start with two big days in the offseason.
On January 25th, 2018, the Brewers traded four players, including top 15 prospect Lewis Brinson, for Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. The very next day, the Brewers would sign outfielder and 2015 World Series champion Lorenzo Cain to 5-year, $80 million dollar deal.
Real quick, these deals were masterful and David Stearns deserves all the praise in the world for landing these two guys at affordable costs. This kid’s a visionary. Anyway, back to the Crew.
Without these two moves, the Brewers remain in NL Central limbo. Despite having solid young talents like Domingo Santana, Orlando Arcia, Jesus Aguilar, and Keon Broxton, in addition to the loud bats of Ryan Braun, Travis Shaw, and Eric Thames, the Brewers still looked to add firepower to their squad. They found that in Cain and Yelich.
It also helps when Christian Yelich has an MVP season and narrowly misses winning the first Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera in 2012.
To say that Christian Yelich isn’t the NL MVP is like saying Michaelangelo wasn’t a decent painter. He is. He absolutely is. It’s clear as day. And right behind him? Lorenzo Cain. Perfection. All in two offseason days.
The other thing that’s helped them along is their stellar bullpen. Lead by the controversial Josh Hader and solidified by the once traded Jeremy Jeffress, the Brewers bullpen is a thing to behold. In the 2018 season, the Brewers relievers held the fifth lowest ERA at 3.47, the
However, just because you have all that talent on the field doesn’t mean success is going to come your way. Is that right, Washington?
You gotta have a capable manager calling the shots, and the Brewers have one of the best in today’s game. While Counsell’s record may not reflect it, he’s been able to turn things around in Milwaukee over the span of four years.
Game 163 is a perfect example of Counsell’s prowess at the helm. Going toe-to-toe with arguably the game’s best, sharpest in-game minds and winning isn’t an easy task. Counsell did it, and made it look easy. With the Brewers potentially heading into the uncharted waters of a 21st Century World Series, it’ll be good to have Counsell, a two-time World Series champion, there to guide them through.
The last time the Brewers won 96 games was back in 2011. A magical season that turned Zach Greinke, John Axford and Shaun Marcum into folk heroes, but one that ultimately ended in despair. The St. Louis Cardinals, the second-place finisher in the NL Central, would defeat the Brewers in 4 games on their way to a World Series win against the Texas Rangers.
This team is different. It feels different.
Sure they need to defeat Clayton Kershaw and his band of red-hot batting brothers, but no one thought they could be where they are now. The North was slighted in the preseason rankings, that’s a fact. And there’s something we shouldn’t forget…