No one predicted the Milwaukee Brewers to be contenders this season. The NL Central was fully expected to once again belong to the Cubs, or even the Cardinals, who never seem to really have a bad season.
In fact, SB Nation predicted that the Brewers would finish somewhere in the middle of the standings at the beginning of this season. Their line up is young, and while most considered it worth watching for a good show, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that by the All Star break they would be 48-40 with a four and a half game lead at the top of the NL Central. Last year at this time, they trailed the Cubs in the NL Central by 15 games. Last night, they hammered the Cubs in an 11-2 victory. Not wanting to waste any relievers, Maddon had John Jay pitch the top of the 9th inning. Which provided a little levity for Cubs fans amidst a crushing defeat. He managed to only allow one hit in a scoreless 9th, throwing curve balls at 46mph.
The Brewers still have at least one faithful vet in Ryan Braun to help lead this team of young talent. Domingo Santana, Orlando Arcia, and Travis Shaw are no easy outs with a line up that’s built around the power of Braun and Eric Thames. The Crew was so excited about their walk off win a few weeks ago they ended up ripping off Themes’s jersey as he came home:
To which might I add, he looks like a baseball Dothraki warrior and it’s fantastic.
It’s tough to say whether the Brewers will be able to keep this up throughout the second half. We’ll see what the trade deadline will bring as well with the Crew looking to add some pitching to try and put that final nail in the coffin of the NL Central.