For the first time in 26 years, the Brewers are playoff-bound with a team that bears only passing resemblance to the more veteran-stocked 1982 squad.Like Don Sutton in '82, CC Sabathia provided the Brewers' starting rotation a midseason boost. Like the '82 team, the Brewers made a managerial change along the way to a more hands-off skipper, although Buck Rodgers was replaced very early in the year by Harvey Kuenn while Ned Yost was let go with only 12 games left in '08 and replaced by Dale Sveum. And both teams had to get hot right at the end, though the '82 Brewers lost three in a row before beating Baltimore in the regular-season finale to clinch a spot. The '08 Brewers would be thrilled if the comparisons continue. Twenty-six years ago, the Brewers sneaked into the playoffs and then advanced all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
By month: March/April 15-12, May 13-16, June 16-10, July 16-11, August 20-7, September 10-16.
Avg.: .285, Ryan Braun
HRs: 37, Braun
RBIs: 106, Braun
Runs: 92, Braun
OPS: .888, Braun
SB: Corey Hart, 23
Sveum has tried to spark things by playing small ball, most notably calling for the first hit-and-run of Braun's life in that key Sept. 21 win in Cincy (Braun singled). But this is essentially an all-or-nothing offense built on home run hitters with a tendency to strike out. The offense crumbled when Braun, right fielder Corey Hart and center fielder Mike Cameron all went cold to start September, and the Brewers cannot only count on Fielder if they want to make waves in the postseason.
Overall ERA: 3.85
Starters ERA: 3.90
Bullpen ERA: 3.83
HRs allowed: 175
Opponents BA: .256
Wins: 13, Ben Sheets
ERA (starter): 1.65, CC Sabathia
ERA (reliever): 2.81, Brian Shouse
Strikeouts: 158, Sheets
Saves: 28, Salomon Torres
Holds: 15, Shouse
HRs allowed: 30, Jeff Suppan
Opponents BA: .227, Sabathia
Starting pitching was the Brewers' strong point during their fabulous start to the second half, to the point that Yost struggled mightily to find innings for certain relievers. But somehow that group was infected by the team-wide September slump. Sabathia lost two September decisions after his 9-0 start. Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush combined to go 9-0 in August, but were winless entering September's final week. And the team was dealt a big blow when Ben Sheets went down with a right elbow injury.
The Brewers are excellent up the middle with catcher Jason Kendall, shortstop J.J. Hardy and center fielder Cameron, though second baseman Rickie Weeks remains a liability. Cameron, though, is probably the best defensive center fielder in franchise history, and easily the best the Brewers have had since Marquis Grissom departed after 2000.
Game by game
April 23: Brewers 5, Phillies 4
April 24: Phillies 3, Brewers 1
Sept. 11: Phillies 6, Brewers 3
Sept. 13: Phillies 7, Brewers 3
Sept 14 (Game 1): Phillies 7, Brewers 3
Sept. 14 (Game 2): Phillies 6, Brewers 1
vs. Dodgers: 2-4
vs. Phillies: 1-5
vs. Rays: 0-0
vs. Red Sox: 0-3
vs. Angels: 0-0
vs. White Sox: 0-0
Not much to feel particularly good about here. Since the All-Star break, the Brewers are 3-12 against these teams.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.