Sunday, March 30, 2008

2008 Milwaukee Brewers Preview

There isn't a single WI sports fan who shouldn't be legitimately excited for tomorrow's first Brewer game. Both state basketball schools recently suffered tough losses to end their seasons, the Bucks completely suck, and all of a sudden the Packers can't win a home playoff game anymore and Brett Favre is retired. Couple that with the fact that team officials are predicting 3 million in attendance this year for the Crew, there is a lot of indirect pressure for this team to succeed this year. By succeed, I mean make the playoffs.

You've read some of the media predictions on this site before. Everybody is predicting Cubs, Cubs, Cubs. I won't/can't argue that. What I do know is that the Brewers are going to win a lot too, and all you can ask for is to be ahead or close the last two weeks of the season when we play the Cubs 6 times in the last 12 games. The stat geeks over at Baseball Prospectus basically are stating the Central is a two-horse race, with a shot that the other team gets the wild card. F it. I'll take either.

At the end of last season on my old site I did a review of 2007/preview of 2008, where I went on the record and stated that barring injuries, the Crew will win 91 games. I am going to stand by that prediction. Of all the weak areas they had going into the offseason (LF, CF, bullpen) it's safe to say the gaps have been filled. Let me ask two questions:
-Would you rather have Ryan Braun or Geoff Jenkins playing LF?
-Would you rather have Mike Cameron or Bill Hall playing CF?
Those questions answer themselves.

Now, our very own Brewer Hater Brad stated in his NL Central Preview that there are too many guys in the bullpen that can't be trusted. I reject that viewpoint. I actually consider the bullpen to be the main strength (besides the offense's ability to flat out hit bombs) of this team. I feel a lot more comfortable with veterans like David Riske, Saloman Torres, & Guillermo Mota than Ray King, Matt Wise, & Chris Spurling. I understand everybody's apprehensiveness towards Eric Gagne...I really do. But don't you think that if Mike Maddox can get good seasons out of Mike DeJean, Dan Kolb, & Derrick Turnblow, he can get a quality season out of a former Cy Young Winner? I'm betting on Maddox.

As far as starting pitching goes, the rotation is playing out the way I've stated and have wanted it too. But again, it all goes back to Sheets. If he gets his 34 starts...look out. If he goes for 20 and battles an ongoing case of I'maPussyitis again, then we'll be around 83 or 84 wins again. This is his last year as a Brewer, so I'm banking on something big from him.

We all know the rest of the story. The team is going to hit bombs. Offense won't be a problem. Both Prince & Braun are probably going to hit 50. Corey Hart might get to 30 but then there are 3-4 other guys who will be between 20-25 (JJ, Rickie, Hall, & possibly Cameron). There are no platoons. Each position guy is expected to play 150 games barring injuring (except Cameron & Kendall). Braun and JJ are in a race to see who can bag the first 100 cougars. The foundation for a great season has been set.

So there it is: a 91 win season. Labeled with the Woz Guarantee, it's a can't miss. But just to show I'm serious about this finally being the year we break the playoff slump, I'm willing to go a little extra. The beard will be making a comeback. I've already got two weeks of disgusting growth going already. To show my support, the beard will remain until one of the following two events occurs:

-The Brewers sweep a series
-They go 10 games above .500

I expect to be shaving before opening day at Miller. Considering this is what I looked like last year during a similar situation, the sooner the better.


Anonymous said...

Woz that is horrible

brad said...

For the record, I'm not a Brewer hater. A Ned Yost hater, but not a Brewer hater.