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Game 48 Open Thread: May 28, 2005

fitting tribute: moment to remember from last night's game: top six, when mattmo -- nursing a just-gained one-run lead -- pitched out of a first-and-third, none out jam. whiff, popup, whiff -- the last one ending on a carve-you-to-pieces curveball that would have done daryl kile proud. dk57 was much in evidence last night -- his wife and kids were there to tear down #57 on the busch countdown chart -- and i think mattmo put a little extra kile mustard on that last pitch. the bellyscratcher has more kile reminiscences this morning. read `em . . . .

storm brewing: it was true before mark prior's elbow got cracked, truer now: the milwaukee brewers are the cardinals' biggest worry in the nl central. and they are a credible threat: baseball prospectus gives them a one-in-six chance of winning the division. i saw that and thought, c'mon they're a .500 team; but after looking it over i can make a case for the brew crew's having an outside shot. here goes:

  • the brewers have played better than their record shows. they have scored 210 runs and allowed only 176, a pythagorean w-l of 28-19. the cards' pythagorean is only one game better, 29-18.

  • they are gathering momentum. after a 7-13 start, the crew has gone 17-10 (stretching back to the last week of april).

  • they can pitch. brewers are 3d in the league in era, a quarter of a run better than the cardinals -- and their best pitcher, ben sheets, hasn't pitched for a month. he returns today, joining the underrated doug davis and cris capuano at the top of a strong rotation.

  • they have trade chips. the milwaukee farm system boasts three of baseball america's top 25 prospects: rickie weeks, prince (son of cecil) fielder, and jose capellan. any of the three could bring huge returns in the summer trading derby, which is nearly upon us.

  • they have played the cardinals tough. stl has taken 5 of the 6 meetings so far, but all were tight low-scoring affairs that could have gone either way.

none of which is to say that i think the brewers will overtake the cardinals. i don't think they will. but i also don't think the suggestion is ludicrous. they are legitimate dark horses, the type of team the cardinals (and their fans) can't afford to take too lightly. here's how rich lederer sees it at baseball analysts:
Playing .500 ball without Ben Sheets for a good part of the year is pretty impressive. The team's Pythagorean record (27-19) suggests they may have been a tad unlucky thus far. Moreover, I think it only gets better from here on out for the Brewers. Bud Selig probably wishes he hadn't put that stop-loss sell order in there.

next series with the crew is july 18-21 at busch. . . .

suppan loaiza
3-5, 4.38 1-3, 3.53