2018 Milwaukee Brewers
2018 Milwaukee Brewers / Franchise: Milwaukee Brewers / BR Team Page
Managed by Craig Counsell
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2018 Milwaukee Brewers entered the season with optimism after playing well enough in 2017 to be in contention for a wild card spot until the last days of the season. Most observers agreed, as they were generally pinned to be wild card contenders in the NL Central, although few went as far as to predict a division title. They started the season well enough, with a record of 17-13 at the end of April, even if that only placed them third in the division at that point as a tight four-team race was developing, with only the Cincinnati Reds out of the picture. They turned on the afterburners in May, however, and after a couple of brief stays in first place early in the month, reached first on May 13th for a prolonged period, as they continued winning after that. On May 22nd, they were the first National League team to reach 30 wins, and by winning their next game as well, they registered the best 50-game start in franchise history at 31-19. They had built a three-game lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates at that point, with the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs also within striking distance, at 3 1/2 and 4 games back respectively.
One of the biggest contributors to the Brewers' fast start was reliever Josh Hader, who was striking out batters at an amazing rate (58 in his first 30 innings), while his bullpen-mates Jeremy Jeffress and Matt Albers had ERA's of 0.35 and 1.17. This had helped the Brewers overcome the loss of closer Corey Knebel, who had only appeared in 9 of the team's first 50 games. Manager Craig Counsell had not felt the need to designate a closer when Knebel was unavailable, as five different pitchers had recorded saves already. The offensive leaders were 3B Travis Shaw, who had 12 homers, and CF Lorenzo Cain, who was having a great all-around season after signing on as a free agent in the off-season. On May 26th, the Brewers won a game by a score of 17-6 over the New York Mets, the most runs they had scored since 2010.
Awards and Honors
- Associated Press: "Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich boost Brewers with glove, bat", USA Today Sports, March 22, 2018. 
- Richard Justice: "Brewers' positive energy still thriving this spring", mlb.com, March 11, 2018. 
- Adam McCalvy: "Can restocked Brewers play up to expectations? Crew added Cain, Yelich to surprising core with hopes of reaching postseason", mlb.com, March 8, 2018. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Brewers, hungry to end seven-year playoff drought, seized the offseason and expect to win", USA Today Sports, February 21, 2018.