The Brewers had their 9 game winning streak snapped last night by the Cardinals and they were never going to play that well all season. Their rotation isn’t going to continue to perform at sub-3.00 ERA levels. Their bullpen isn’t this good. Their lineup isn’t very deep and they have injury prone players like Ramirez and Garza. They’re not better than the Cardinals. They’re not going to win the NL Central. I hear/see this all the time, even before last night's game. I get it. As a Brewers fan over the years it’s become sort of a survival technique to curb our enthusiasm. I get that. But optimism and pessimism are two sides of the same coin and one can go too far in either direction. I think it’s time for us as Brewers fans to take a step back from the ledge.
Most everything in that first paragraph is more or less true. I do think their bullpen is really good but that’s another conversation. Let’s get one thing straight though, no team is ever going to play at a .769 clip the whole season, so to say they’re not that good is kind of pointless and unfair. The real question is do you think they can play at a .537 clip? Because that’s what they have to do for the rest of the season to get to 90 wins which is approximately what it will take to secure a Wild Card spot. A .537 winning percentage over a whole season equates to 87 wins. I don't see that as an unattainable win rate. FanGraphs seems to think I’m being too optimistic, while Baseball Prospectus seems to agree with me that it's a possibility.
The most difficult part of the season is April and May. So far the Brewers are 10-3 through half of April. Yes there is still 75% of those two months to play, but that’s a really good start and eventually the schedule is going to get easier. Picking up games now that on paper the Brewers maybe should have lost is going to pay huge dividends later in the season when they’re playing lesser teams more frequently. Not only will they have a larger margin for error, they’ll have an easier time (on paper) getting wins.
Can we also stop pretending like the entire team is clicking on all cylinders? That’s certainly true about the pitching. However, despite several high scoring games not all hitters are killing it. They’ve each had good games, but overall Scooter Gennett (62 wRC+), Khris Davis (79 wRC+), Jean Segura (79 wRC+) have not been great offensively. If these guys don’t ever get it going then yeah, the Brewers are in trouble. But I have to believe they’re better than they’ve been. And even though I have low expectations for guys like Lyle Overbay (32 wRC+), Logan Schafer (34 wRC+), Jeff Bianchi (3! wRC+), and Martin Maldonado (48 wRC+) I think they can be better too.
I’m not saying the Brewers are going to average 8 runs a game or anything but people have been pointing to the other guys (Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, etc) and saying they can’t keep up their offensive pace. They’re right of course, because they’ve have been absolutely scorching the ball. My point is the guys that are underperforming right now will eventually pick things up and help compensate for when the other guys start to come back to Earth.
The season is long and it’s early so anything can happen, but by winning big early they’re making it that much easier on themselves. I don’t blame anyone for being cautious with their optimism, but don’t just focus on the negatives. As many things can go right as they can go wrong. Right now pretty much everything is going right. Let yourself enjoy that. Be hopeful. It’s okay.
Statistical information courtesy of FanGraphs.