Earlier in the week, I overhead on the radio that that the '09 Brewers had an identical record to their Wild Card team of last year--meaning, that these new Brewers weren't following the trends of the past.
After Tuesday night's thrilling win over the Mets, the Crew stands at 42-35, alone in first in the NL Central, and a full three games ahead in the loss column over the Cardinals, Reds, and Cubs.
The offense is still there--Braunie is hitting .327 with 16 HR's, and even Fielder is above the .300 mark at .307 with 20 HR's. Cubs' cast-off Casey McGehee, filling in for Weeks and Hall, is hitting .325, begging the question...When is the last time the Brewers had three .300 hitters at the half-way point? McGehee probably doesn't have enough PA's yet to qualify for an official listing in the MLB or team rankings...but if he continues to pound the ball, he'll continue to get playing time.
Yovani Gallard has developed into the ace of the staff, too, posting a more than respectable 8-4, 2.86, with 102 K's, and while Braden Looper and Jeff Suppan still linger around the 4.90 area for ERA, Mike Burns has posted a 1-1, 3.31 over three games and shows promise. Trevor Hoffman has been almost lights out at the back end of the bullpen, save a few recent setbacks.
So...do the Brewers have enough pieces to win the NL Central? Right now, GM Doug Melvin seems to be thinking that he will only add someone late in July if the team is in contention, sort of an insurance policy to insure that the team makes the postseason again. Right now, he's waiting to see how the Crew fares in the remainder of their games before the All-Star break, which is the toughest stretch so far this season: four games at the Cubs, followed by three at home against the Cardinals, and three more at home against the team with the best record in the NL and the early frontrunner to win the NL Pennant, the Dodgers.
The first 11 of June games are crucial to the Brewers' playoff hopes; 7-8 wins, and they are the favorites, and Melvin can start shopping for insurance; 6 or less wins, and the race is tighter.