When the Brewers start hitting, look out!
Thirty-one games into replaying the Brew Crew's successful 2008 season and the team's record stands at 16-15 -- identical to the squad's real-life record.
A lifelong Brewers fan, I decided to replay this season because of the mix of hitting and pitching, and the Brewers first return to the postseason since their famous 1982 squad, which came up one game short of a championship when it dropped Game 7 of the World Series vs. the Cardinals. Argh!
Twenty-six years and practically a lifetime later, it seemed like it would be fun to see how Ryan Braun (steroid-free?), Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy helped attain this monumental return to relevancy.
What's been surprising so far is that it hasn't been the potent lineup that's accounted for most of team's 16 wins, but an above-average performance by its pitching staff. At this point the staff has a stellar team ERA of 3.24. Starters Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush both have three wins, followed by Ben Sheets, Carlos Villanueva and Manny Parra with two apiece. Salomon Torres has four saves as the closer.
One big difference between my managing style and Ned Yost (No wonder he was fired before the season ended!) is my tendency toward complete games. I've already left my starters out there for 11 complete games vs. 12 for the season in real life. (And seven of those actual complete games were turned in by C.C. Sabathia, who won't even arrive until a trade in mid-season!)
|Courtesy of MLB.com|
Among the starters, Hardy is leading off and hitting .270, with Braun the only other starter above .250 -- barely, at .252. Hardy leads the team in scoring, with 20 runs, following by Braun's 18. Braun leads in runs batted in at 25; Fielder is next with 17, which is amazing considering the Prince is hitting a robust .159!
One thing this team does accomplish with frequency is striking out! The team averages more than 7 whiffs a game! (Click here to see the complete stats.)
As you might expect, this team has been pretty even with the competition to date, going 8-5 at home and 8-10 on the road. The team just won its series in Houston (2-1) and now is headed on to Florida for a three-game set with the Marlins.
This is the first time I've tried a single-team season replay, and it's only this past weekend that I resumed playing after a break of several months. I'm using the Brewers' actual pitching rotation, along with the real lineups for their opponents.
I'm choosing Milwaukee's starting lineup. Fortunately, the team had a lot of starters who played a lot of games, so there's not a lot of platooning. I'm limiting all players to 115 percent of their actual at-bats and innings pitched, thinking that will give me some flexibility with only 30 or so players. I'm also paying attention to major injuries, mid-season trades and other transactions. (One of my favorite players, Mark Cameron missed the first 25 games for violating the league's drug policy. Ugh!)