With the completion of the All-Star game, the first “half” of the season is officially in the books. While the Milwaukee Brewers may not have performed quite to most fans’ expectations, they are still right in the mix for a playoff spot.
2018 was nothing short of a magical season for the Milwaukee Brewers. After falling just a game short of the playoffs in 2017, the Brewers exploded onto the scene last year behind star acquisitions Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. It took 163 games, but the Crew ultimately pulled off a 96-win season, a National League Central title, and fell a game short of their second World Series appearance ever.
As a result, the 2019 season came with lofty expectations for the ball club. Yelich entered the season as the reigning NL Most Valuable Player. They brought back Mike Moustakas, a key contributor late in 2018, and signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to bolster one of the few supposed weaknesses left on offense. Though the NL Central was expected to be tougher than the previous year, most experts had the Brewers pegged for a win total in the high 80’s to low 90’s and finishing either first or second in the division.
Now at the All-Star break, the Brewers find themselves short of the pace needed to meet the goals set by the fans and experts. Yes, they are just a half game behind the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central. They are also only a half game behind the Philadelphia Phillies for the second wild card spot and a game behind the Washington Nationals for the first spot.
Regardless, a rough finish to June and a slow start to July (5-8 over the 13 days leading into the All-Star break) leaves the Brewers with a 47-44 record going into a second half. That puts the team on pace for 83 wins, not exactly the win total that fans had in mind for 2019.
So with it being the All-Star break, it’s time to grade the performance of the team over the first half of the season. Has the offense gotten better than last year with new additions or plateaued? How has the pitching fared with the reliance on so many young arms? And how have the moves made by the manager and general manager contributed to the teams current position.