Saturday, May 18, 2013

Brewers "Team Streak" 2.0

There are so many great moments in Brewers history that I will never forget.  Probably the earliest season I remember vividly is 1992.  Early that spring, I recall going to Seat Cushion Night with my family at County Stadium and watching Franklin Stubbs crank a walk-off grand slam.  And of course later that season, perhaps the greatest Brewer of all time, Robin Yount, became the first player in club history to notch his 3,000th hit in a Milwaukee uniform on September 9th, 1992.  I was totally jealous of this girl in my class because she got to go to the game.  Not coincidentally, a year or two later I switched from playing soccer to baseball, and have loved the sport ever since.  I remember Miller Park opening in 2001 and attending some of the All-Star festivities in 2002.  There was Ben Sheets' 18-strikeout game against the Braves in 2004.  In person, I witnessed Bill Hall as a Mother's Day hero in 2006, Prince Fielder become the youngest player in major league history to hit 50 homeruns in a season in 2007, and Trevor Hoffman notch save #601 in 2010.  It used to be that reaching .500 was the Holy Grail for the Brewers, but after playoff appearances in two of the last five seasons, Brewer fans have come to expect a competitive team.  All of these good memories are the things that bring me back down to earth when the Brewers are playing as poorly as they are now.  I think of the good ol' days when you could practically walk by with your hand out for tickets and sit wherever you wanted because the team was so terrible, and I remember what it is like to find the silver lining from a poor stretch of play and root for a player win or lose.  Because a common thread of all the memories I describe above - they were mostly amidst really, really bad teams.

One season I am too young to remember is the 1987 season, a year the club was dubbed "Team Streak."  The Brewers stormed out of the gates winning 13 in a row, which culminated with perhaps one of the top moments in Brewer history, Dale Sveum's walk-off homer on Easter Sunday.  That was also the year of Paul Molitor's club record 39-game hitting streak.  What many people don't remember is that the Brewers also had a 12-game losing streak later that year.  And that's exactly my point - people remember the good times.  The Brewers of 2013 are giving the '87 team a run for their money, with their season already divisible into 3 distinct chapters - starting off the year 2-8, followed by a 9-game winning streak finishing the month winning 12 of 15, and now currently losing 13 of 15 in the month of May.  This team has some good things going for it but just isn't putting everything together at one time.  The season started out with a lot of runs from the bullpen, then the starting pitching was bad, and now the Brewers are hitting below .200 with RISP on their current roadtrip.  The reason I keep watching is for the silver lining: Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura are enjoying breakout seasons and are currently 1-2 in hitting, Ryan Braun is hitting over .300 with 8 HR despite battling neck issues, the Yuni-Bomber has provided some unexpected production, Aramis is back, and free agent signing Kyle Lohse has been as good as advertised. 

Despite an embarrassing stretch against the three teams ahead of them in the division, the Brewers still control their own destiny for how they want this season to be remembered.  Can they use all of their assets and play more consistently?  Or will they just be known as Team Streak 2.0

Brewers 16-24, -10.5 (3 v. Dodgers, 3 v. Pirates)
Reds 25-17, -2.5
(3 @ Mets, 3 v. Cubs)
Twins 18-20, -4.5 (3 @ Braves, 4 @ Tigers)

Erik - 5
Peter - 9

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