Well we finally have a season and we know that it will be 60 games long. Let’s take a look at how the Brewers did over the same span to start the season in 2019.
How they got there may not have been pretty, but there will be a Brewers baseball season in 2020.
On Monday, the MLBPA formally rejected the owners’ 60-game proposal, prompting the Commissioner Manfred to mandate a season, which also happened to be for the same amount of games.
There are still some kinks that need to be worked out before players supposedly report to Spring Training: Part 2 next week, including player safety protocols and any additional rule changes (universal DH, expanded playoffs, extra-inning changes, etc.). But at least we know the intended length of the season.
This season will be unlike any other based on the unprecedented conditions under which the players will be competing. Still, for fun, let’s see how the Brewers fared through 60 games to start the season last year.
Where was Milwaukee in the Playoff picture?
The Brewers played their 60th game on June 2nd last year and found themselves with a record of 34-26. True, not every team had quite played 60 games to that point – some had played as few as 57 by that date. Still, at the end of that day, Milwaukee found themselves atop the NL Central, 1.5 games clear of the second place Chicago Cubs.
That start would have been good enough for a No. 2 seed in the playoffs instead of the second Wild Card spot they got instead in 2019. The Los Angeles Dodgers still would have been the top seed in the National League, while the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies would have been playing the Brewers in the first round as the No. 3 seed.
The Chicago Cubs, who ended up missing the playoffs, end up with the first Wild Card in this 60-game scenario, while the Atlanta Braves still make the postseason, but as the second Wild Card instead of the No. 2 seed. The St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals, who made second half pushes to make the real playoffs in 2019, miss the postseason here.
How were some Brewers players doing as of June 2nd?
Well for one, Christian Yelich was doing Christian Yelich things. He was slashing .313/.425/.719 (!!!) and already had 22 bombs, 49 RBI, and 12 steals. Of course, he was also healthy at this point, meaning he would have gotten to contribute in the playoffs. Who knows what happens, then?
Keston Hiura had been making quite the name for himself up to this point. The impressive rookie was slashing .281/.333/.531 with the five homers in the first 16 games of his career. Much to the chagrin of many Brewers fans, Hiura would be optioned back to the minors the day after the team’s 60th game. Had the season ended there, he definitely sticks around for the postseason roster.
One Brewer needed much more than those first 60 games in 2019 to get going. Manny Pina was slashing an abysmal .140/.232/.240 as of June 2nd of last year. However, he would end up rebounding to finish 2019 at a much more respectable .228/.313/.411 as he ended up playing primarily against left-handers.
In the end, teams will approach this season much differently than they would a 162-game season, so it’s hard to point to any 60-game stretch from last year and get an idea of exactly how this year will go. Plus, there’s always the variable of COVID-19, which could end up altering the season in a way we can’t even imagine.
Either way, MLB has a season to play now, albeit an extremely shortened one. All we can do now is watch and see what happens.