Scoring runs and looking good doing it!!! Photo: Benny Sieu-USA Today Sports
It is no secret that I do not hold the Walt Disney Sports Network in very high regard. The article they rolled out this past Saturday, did not help.
In ESPN’s “expert” opinion the Brewers have a 1 in 215 chance of making the postseason…so, they’re telling us there’s a chance!!!!
Forty-three of their baseball staffers made their predictions for the 2013 postseason and the Brewers only snuck on there thanks to David Schoenfield. Schoenfield improved our teams chances from 0% to 0.47%. This is not surprising, since most of these same experts think that we have one of the worst farm systems in baseball (see Jean Segura, Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta, Logan Schafer, Khris Davis, Alfredo Figaro, Jim Henderson, and Martin Maldonado).
Normally, I would not care. In fact, the only reason I found this article at all was because a fellow Brewers fan, and former RtB staff writer, floated it my way under the title “This Will Piss You Off”. But instead it just made me laugh.
If you go over and look at the article, you will notice a very serious trend. Almost all of the NL picks look exactly the same: Nationals, Reds, Dodgers, Braves, and Giants. Those 5 teams are on almost 100% of the lists. The Cardinals, D’Backs, and Phillies snuck in a few times, but it is no secret who the experts think are the top teams in the NL this season.
Should you choose to look at the AL, you will find that ESPN does employ individuals and not just sheep. There are all kinds of unique picks and analysts going out on a limb. Why are things so different between the AL and NL in the Mickey Mouse sports universe? The answer came to me moments before I sat down to write this article.
The answer is pitching. ESPN as a baseball community values pitching in the National League above all else. In 2012, the Brewers were the highest scoring team in the NL, followed by the Cardinals and the Rockies. While the Cardinals got a few votes to make the postseason, they were certainly not a favorite by any means.
Meanwhile, here are the 5 teams with the lowest overall team ERA in 2012: Nationals, Dodgers, Reds, Braves, and Giants. The same 5 teams that got unanimous votes to make the postseason. Coincidence? No. Buster Olney reporting actual news is a coincidence. This is real life.
What we have here is either laziness or the belief that in the NL you can only win if you have pitching. I do not disagree with that, but I also believe that you need to score runs as well. There is no reason that a team could not hover around the 4.00 realm in team ERA and overcome that with scoring runs. In 2012, the Brewers had the 4th highest team ERA in the National League (4.22). If they can find a way to shave off an extra quarter of a run this season, then I believe they will make the playoffs and possibly take the NL Crown for the 2nd time in 3 years.
So what did I learn from this article? ESPN does not believe that offense can win games in the National League. Yet, they believe the exact opposite in the American League. I believe that you have to have both.
After watching the Opening Day game yesterday, I was filled with hope. More than I have had in quite some time. This new bullpen got a big test right out the gate and passed with flying colors (not including my boy John Axford‘s little boo-boo, but he still struck out 3 batters). If this team can stay healthy and Corey Hart comes back and picks up where he left off, there is no doubt in my mind that this team will make the postseason.
If you feel so inclined, go over and read the ESPN article and have a good laugh. Then remember that there was one guy who believed in our team as much as we did and was probably suspended from Twitter over it (since that is the going rate for punishment over there), David Schoenfield.