The biggest surprise from the month of March/April was by far the Milwaukee Brewers. In their first 28 games, the "Brew Crew" had a Major League leading 20 wins. While many like to say that it is really hard to know much about a team in just 28 games, it is also hard to disregard a 20-8 record. While a great start is nice, what are the chances that the Brewers go to the playoffs? How about to the World Series?
The Brewers have one of the best pitching staffs in all of the Major Leagues. Consisted of Kyle Lohse, Wily Peralta, Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, and Matt Garza, the Brewers' rotation is sixth in the Majors in ERA, tops in innings pitched, and is sixth in opponents' OPS. It takes pitching to win the World Series. A rocket scientist does not need to know that. The fact of the matter is, however, is whether the Brewers' rotation can keep up their fantastic start. I mean seriously; who would have known that Wily Peralta has a 2.04 ERA in six starts? At this point, nobody.
The Brewers' Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) believes that the rotation will eventually fall off of the mountain. If you are not familiar with the statistic, FIP measures how well a pitcher is at at avoiding walks, home runs, and hit batters, and causing strikeouts. The constant is set so that an average FIP equals an average ERA. In short, FIP basically takes the team's defense out of the pitchers' ERA. Here's the FIP for the Brewers rotation: 3.27 (Lohse), 3.90 (Peralta), 3.64 (Gallardo), 4.61 (Estrada), and 3.76 (Garza). That should definitely be a warning flag for a decline in their rotation.
So far in May, the Brewers are 2-3. They do have a five game lead on the division, but giving up 21 runs in five games (4.2 runs per game) is not ideal. In April, the Brewers only gave up 95 runs in 28 games (3.39 runs per game). Already the Brewers pitching has started to settle in to what their talent suggests. Whether they can rebound is beyond me, but the signs do not look very good.
On the offensive, the Brewers have been good at times and bad at times. It makes sense that they rank sixth in the National League in runs scored. Slugger Ryan Braun is on the disabled list. Only four players, Braun, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Mark Reynolds have an OPS+ above the league-average 100. All other starters' are in the high-80s or lower. The offense has been a strength for the Brewers in past seasons, so there still could be a rebound.
Of the 50 teams to start their season 20-8, 10 would go on to win the World Series Championship. One of those teams included the 2013 Boston Red Sox, who their hot start all the way to the championship. While the 20% "chance" to win the World Series is definitely an intriguing number for Brewers fans, I do not personally believe they can win the World Series. They play in a tough National League that includes teams like the Dodgers and Nationals, and they also have been "lucky" to begin the season with their pitching staff and other factors.
Before you start reserving your tickets to the postseason Brewers fans, remember that there is a lot of season left to go, and that your team might not be as fitted as you may think it is to go all the way and win the World Series. There are just too many factors involved. This "luck" can only take you so far.