In the month of May, the Milwaukee Brewers are 10-7 (They did beat Atlanta today, so I guess they are 11-7, but the numbers that I will allude to are concerning this 10-7 run). That is not a bad record, especially when they started the month with two losses and giving up 22 runs in those two losses. The Brewers also have a pretty good run differential for the month at +15. Things are going pretty well. Yet it just feels like they should have one or two more wins at least, right? And it also seems like the Brewers are leaving a lot of runners on base.
Sometimes when something “seems” like it is happening doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. With that in mind, I thought I would take a look. When I went to my favorite sites that usually provide the data I need to write these types of articles, I couldn’t really get at what I wanted (either the site didn’t allow for that type of data output or I just couldn’t figure it out). So I just started counting things.
What I decided to count were things like innings when Brewers’ players were in scoring position, in scoring position with less than two outs, in scoring position with less than two outs and unable to score, number of times they had the bases loaded, number of times they were able to load the bases without scoring, and the number of times they were able to load the bases with less than two outs and not score. I was able to access stats around runners left on base (LOB) and team batting with runners in scoring position (RISP). I did all of this between the dates of May 1 and May 18. The results were interesting.
The Freddie Freeman homer off Josh Hader decided it, but Craig Counsell said the story was the bats.— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) May 19, 2019
"We didn’t capitalize on our offensive opportunities," he said. "We pitched good, but there were enough offensive opportunities that we left dry and it cost us in the end."
Within eighteen day time period, Milwaukee played 17 games. In those 17 games, the Brewers left 157 runners on base for an average of 9.24 per game. With runners in scoring position in the month of May, Milwaukee hitters have 49 hits in 190 chances for a .258 batting average in such situations between May 1 and May 18.
That is not actually terrible, although lower than the usual for this team. The Brewers on the year are ranked #3 in MLB in batting average with runners in scoring position at .276 and interestingly they are #2 in baseball in slugging percentage with runners in scoring position at .503. In fact, it looks like the Brewers are getting it done in those situations for the overall year. To compare, the Chicago Cubs are hitting .259 for the year with runners in scoring position. The Minnesota Twins are ranked #15 in baseball in batting average with runners in scoring position at the same May average for the Brewers (.258). The reality is that the Brewers are hitting at an average rate for May, whereas they were red hot in April.
Data often suggest something, but until we dig deeper we may be missing something. From May 1 - May 18, the Brewers played 169 innings of baseball. Within those 169 innings, the Brew Crew had men in scoring position in 69 of those innings. They had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in 50 of those innings. They were unable to score with runners in scoring position with less than two outs in 21 of those innings.
The Brewers loaded the bases 24 times between May 1 - May 18. They were unable to score in innings where they loaded the bases just 9 times. They were unable to score with the bases loaded and less than two outs just 7 times. These are the frustrating one to say the least, and the moments in games, especially when the Brewers lose, that we remember the most.
There were points where the Brewers scored in the inning, but left the bases loaded without breaking the inning open. For example on May 6 against the Washington Nationals in the eighth inning, the Brewers scored prior to the bases being loaded and just one out. Unfortunately they were unable to score more. Another example comes from their May 13 game against Philadelphia. They scored one run in the inning, but loaded the bases with no one out and were unable to get another run in. On May 16, again against the Phillies, the Brewers scored in the third, but eventually loaded the bases and were unable to convert.
All things considered, Jennings and Suero did well to get out of that fiasco with only 2 runs across the plate. But the Nationals trail nonetheless, and now have to rally against the Brewers' bullpen studs.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) May 7, 2019
Situations like the ones mentioned are frustrating, and they tend to stand out. But what about the May 7 game against Washington? In the seventh inning, the Brewers seemed to have the bases loaded the entire inning. They were also able to score all six of their runs of the game in that inning.
What we tend to remember are the number of men left on base and the seemingly inordinate amount of missed opportunities. There have been several this month. However, it has to be recognized that even as it SEEMS to be the case that the Brewers are struggling with runners on, they are still hitting at the same level as the Chicago Cubs and the Minnesota Twins (two first place teams) for the entire season for a 17 game stretch.
As Ryan Braun said, the Brewers' offense follows the lead of Christian Yelich, who homered twice in an 11-3 romp over Philadelphia. https://t.co/JFWjj9oRKP— JSOnline - Brewers (@js_brewers) May 16, 2019
Just remember the Brewers are #3 in all of baseball in team batting average with runners in scoring position and #2 in team slugging percentage with runners in scoring position. Milwaukee is quite good in this department for the year, and what we perceive as bad is just Milwaukee hitting more like that team that resides two hours south via I-94.