Magic in Milwaukee
2017 has been a surprising year in baseball so far. The Cincinnati Reds were in first place in the NL Central for the first time since being division champs in 2012 for the first few weeks. As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, the Colorado Rockies also had first place in their division for the first weeks of the season as well.
But the most surprising story in the 2017 season of America's pastime is the "Cerveceros" de Milwaukee; or translated as the Milwaukee Brewers. For years, they have been at the bottom of the MLB rankings as well as in the NL Central. It was not until 2011 where for the first time in franchise history, the Brewers won the NL Central.
In that year's NLDS, they forced a Game 5 at Miller Park where the Brewers walked off 3-2 and earned a trip to their second LCS appearance, (their first was in 1982 when they were in the AL). Unfortunately though, the Brew Crew lost in 6 to their division foe; the St Louis Cardinals.
2017 gave the Brewers motivation to challenge each other and bring the team to new heights. They started near third place in the division behind the defending champion Chicago Cubs and the Reds. They then brought in from the Oakland A's, Catcher Stephen Vogt via trade. Alongside stars like pitchers Zach Davies and Josh Hader, as well as Right Fielder Domingo Santana, and Infielders Eric Sogard, Travis Shaw, and Jesus Aguilar, this team sounded great on paper, but would this translate well on the field?
Well as the season went on, it paid off. Even though they won 15 of 29 games in June, the Brewers ended the month off right by winning a division blowout at Cincinnati 11-3 with 11 runs on 12 hits. Shortly afterward, they were back home and won their next 2 out of 3 against the Marlins. On June 30, as you might know in this week's Top 4 Plays, Vogt hit two homers to give the Brewers a 3-2 win. In game 2 of the series, the Marlins started off strong with Jason Bour hitting a 2 run RBI double to give Miami a 2-0 advantage. The beer makers soon answered back quickly by tying the game and scoring a monster 6 run second inning with Giancarlo Stanton nearly robbing the tying home run. This forced Miami's pitcher's pitch count at 50. Thus, forcing Marlins manager Don Mattingly take his pitcher off the mound for a pitching change. The Brewers then put the cherry on the sundae when Orlando Arcia hit a solo shot homer to give the "Cerveceros" the 8-4 victory; improving their record to 44-40, 2 games ahead of the Cubs and winning 3 of their last 4.
The Brewers are well on their way to another NL Central pennant and we're already half way through the season. Their next big challenges are series against the Nationals, Cubbies, and Cards.
Even though they don't have any All Stars on this year's All Star Team in Miami, the Brewers have an All Star squad with All Star talent. From the home run hitters of Santana, Vogt and Ryan Braun, to the phenomenal pitching bullpen of Zach Davies and Josh Hader; in my book this team is a sleeper in the NL, a sleeper team who can challenge others in the postseason and hopefully...
Bring some Milwaukee magic home to the football town and possibly, by bringing an NL pennant and World Series championship home, the home of the cheeseheads (and Miller Beer of course), will finally have a chance to call their city a baseball city.