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Beware the Brew Crew?

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Nope, no baby yet. We're trying to convince junior that it's fun out here, but he's in Tahiti type temperatures with an all you can eat buffet, and we're in Iowa and it's winter. No wonder he's staying put for now.

This morning I was thinking about if there was a team in the division that could challenge the Cardinals, and it just might be the Brewers, led by a very solid pitching staff. Here is their last season's ERA+ numbers-

Ben Sheets- ERA+ +118
Chris Capuano- +112
Soup- +108
David Bush- +102
Claudio Vargas- +99

Ben Sheets is capable of better then that, as demonstrated by his FIP (fielding indeptendent ERA) of 2.47. If dude could ever stay healthy, he'd be a top Cy Young contender. Bush walked less then 2 batters per nine innings, while striking out 7.5 per 9. Capuano cut his walk rate almost in half last season and was the ace of the staff. And then there is Suppan, who we all know is quite capable of putting together strings of solid starts.

Then there is their lineup. They had trouble scoring runs last season, but they underperformed most's expectations, and were bit with the injury bug.

Brady Clark OPS+ +77/Anthony Gwynn +51
Rickie Weeks +97
Bill Hall +126
Prince Fielder +111
Geoff Jenkins +102
Corey Koskie +111
Johnny Estrada +91
J.J. Hardy +76

Ok, so it's not the best lineup, but Jenkins had a bad year by his standards. Fielder should take another step forward this season. Ryan Braun, one of the more regarded prospects in the game, may be ready for his close up some time mid season. Weeks and Hardy spent lots of time on the DL last year, but both were highly regarded prospects not long ago and are expected to be healthy. If this lineup performs up to their abilities, they'll score their fair share of runs. Add that to what could be one of the more solid pitching rotations in the game, a dominant closer, and this team could finally be ready to make some noise.