Posted by Steve
I just watched the Brewers handle the (understandably) shaky Cardinals on ESPN. I must say it was difficult to breathe during the game because I was smothered by Brewer love. Baseball Tonight is currently on in the background, and the Brewers brown-nosing is continuing. What a weird feeling…
You couldn’t have realistically hoped for a better start from the Crew.
The pitching has been outstanding, save for a few middle relievers. The offense has been near the top of the NL as well. Here’s a quick look back at April.
Hitter of the Month
This is a debatable decision, which is a good sign. Geoff Jenkins comes close with his .944 OPS (ya think he benefits from the platoon?), Kevin Mench is sitting at .890 (see Jenkins) and Prince Fielder has supplied some power. I have to give to nod to J.J. Hardy though, mainly because his contribution has been a pleasant surprise. His power has been the big surprise, as his six home runs is tied for the team lead and his slugging percentage is higher than Bill Hall’s and Prince Fielder’s. He has been the ideal two-hole hitter, and he’s also been very good defensively.
Pitcher of the Month
Jeff Suppan has made a great case for it, as he has consistently pitched deep into games and saved the bullpen. So far so good on Doug Melvin’s prized acquisition. Turnbow’s resurgence has been huge, as the Brewers have not blown a game when leading after seven innings. But neither of these guys get it, because you can’t get better than perfect. Closer Francisco Cordero is 10-10 in save opportunities with 19 strikeouts in 11.1 innings and a nice, fat 0.00 ERA. The Turnbow-Cordero 1-2 punch has been the best in baseball so far, and Coco’s made Doug Melvin look like a genius.
A quick word of caution to those who are already thinking playoffs. First of all, it’s only one month. It’s soooo early. There was a discussion a couple days ago at brewerfan about this exact topic: At the moment the Brewers have only outscored opponents by three runs. It’s obviously good that they are winning close games, but if the run differential doesn’t increase, the W-L record will even out. Also, the team has stayed healthy so far, but injuries are inevitable. You’d like to think their improved depth will be able to cover the injuries, but we won’t know until it happens.
That’s all I can say to temper the enthusiasm. What’s so encouraging is that Bill Hall and Ben Sheets are taking a while to get going, and it’s safe to say they will improve. They also have some great talent waiting in AAA, as Ryan Braun and Yo Gallardo are both pwning and could be called up at any point. Braun is already the best option at third, but that’s for a different post (which I’ve written multiple times, coincidentally).
If we learned anything from April, it’s that the Brewers should at least be fun to watch throughout the summer. That’s more than you could say about them in recent history.