[editor's note, by Jeff] For the third and final new BCB writer of the week...please welcome Jamie Herbst. Along with John, he wrote the Brewers blog From Robin to Rickie, and will be joining us here. May Carlos hit another HR to celebrate your arrival!
Well, it was some kind of weekend for Wisconsin sports fans. With apologies to all the Packers and Bucks fans reading this, the Brewers' demolition of those (un)lovable Cubbies had to be the highlight. It started with a depressing loss on Friday, but then saw the Crew put up 25 runs to the Cubs' 2 on Saturday and Sunday. I've got to say, it was great to see the bats get going- hopefully the Crew can sustain some of this for this week's homestand.
As a lifelong Brewers fan who's seen his share of optimistic seasons gone awry, I just keep wondering at what point it's safe to get super-excited about this team. Coming into this year, I figured 85 wins was a realistic goal and would be another huge step forward, and even thought another 81-81 season would be acceptable as the young players started growing up. The Brewers are currently 14-11, which projected out for the season would put them almost exactly at 90 wins.
BaseballProspectus.com's adjusted standings tell a different story. For those of you unfamiliar with their Pythagenport expected wins and losses, it basically involves taking a team's runs scored and runs allowed and projecting a win-loss record given those totals. BP then adjusts these run totals to "equivalent runs" and adjusts based on strength of schedule and the quality of their opponents' hitting and pitching. Long story short, the Brewers currently sport an adjusted record of 17-8, three games ahead of the Cardinals, who come in at 14-11. Now obviously, adjusted standings mean nothing in the race for playoff spots, but this may be a true indication of the kind of team the Brewers actually are, and what we can expect in the months ahead. This 17-8 Pythagenport record prorates to 110-52 for 162 games, and believe me, I harbor no illusions that this is a 110-win team. However, maybe dreams of our first 90-win season (and possibly the big P word) since 1992 aren't that unrealistic after all.
For some reason I always feel like I need to look back on performances over the last month once the calendar changes. With that in mind, my players of the month:
Hitter: Carlos Lee- 14th in baseball in VORP, set a Brewers record with 10 homers in April, and it's looking like the Brewers will have an interesting decision to make come July. If we're right there in the playoff hunt and Lee's hitting like this, there's no way they're trading him.
Pitcher: Chris Capuano- No doubt about this one. He's 9th in the majors in VORP for pitchers, thew his first career complete-game shutout yesterday, and is now striking out a hitter per inning.
Lastly, let me just say thank you to Jeff for inviting me to write for Brew Crew Ball. I hope I'll be able to add some extra insight to Jeff's outstanding writing.