MLB Playoff Preview – Milwaukee Brewers
By Jared Weymier, Director of Promotions
After a disappointing 2010 campaign the Milwaukee Brewers had high hopes for the 2011 season. The team gutted their farm system for former Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke and Toronto Blue Jays ace Shaun Marcum.
The Season got off to a bumpy start when Greinke cracked a rib playing pickup basketball before the season started. The Brew Crew got swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the first series and compiled a 14-20 record by May 8th. During that stretch the Brewers battled injuries to Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Takashi Saito, and LaTroy Hawkins.
However, the Brewers turned it around before the all-star break and over took the St. Louis Cardinals for the top spot in the National League Central. The Brewers remained hot after the all-star break going 32-11 from July 14th-August 28th. They built a 10.5 game lead in the National League Central over the rival Cardinals and clinched last night win a win accompanied by a Cardinals loss.
When people think of the Brewers they more than likely think of one of the best three four hitting combos in the league of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. However, the Brewers have been led by a dominating pitching staff this season headlined by Zach Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo, and Randy Wolf. As opposed to last year, the bullpen has been able to shut down opponents. On the day of the all-star game the Brewers traded with the New York Mets for closer Francisco Rodriguez and converted him to set up man for John Axford who has been lights out all year for the Crew.
The Brewers offense is slightly better than average with the constant threat for the long ball. Ryan Braun is having a MVP type season and Prince Fielder, in what is likely to be his last year in Milwaukee, is putting up ridiculous numbers. However, an injury to second baseman Rickie Weeks and the lack of production from third baseman Casey McGehee and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt has caused for an inconsistent season offensively.
How the Brewers Can Win: If the Brewers pitching staff can remain dominant the Brewers have a real shot at advancing throughout the playoffs. Braun and Fielder need to continue hitting the ball well and the bullpen will need to hold up their end of the bargain late in games. The X factor for the Brewers could end up being controversial outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who has been a spark for the Crew all year. The Brewers are also hoping Craig Counsell has one last playoff trick up his sleeve!
How the Brewers Can Lose: The Brewers end the regular season with a road record of 39-42 and have been atrocious against good teams on the road. With the National League going through Philadelphia this year the Brewers are going to have to find a way to win away from Miller Park. Another problem facing this team is its defense. There have been far too many errors this season at inopportune times and that just might catch up to the Crew in the playoffs.
Jared joined the Crawdads as the promotions assistant before the 2011 season, and took charge of the team’s promotional fun throughout the campaign. A native of Milwaukee, WI and graduate of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, Jared previously worked for the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Operations Department and is well known for his undefeated record in the Brewers’ famed Sausage Race. Jared enjoys following Wisconsin teams and working out.