Can the Milwaukee Brewers make MLB history in April?

Brewers celebrate

The Brewers won their 16th game of the 2014 season last night, 5-2 over the San Diego Padres. They have the majors best record at 16-6, and they reached the 16-win mark in the month of April for only the fourth time in team history.

With six games remaining in the month of April, is it possible that the Brewers could do something that has never been done in major league baseball history? It’s possible…

In 2003, the New York Yankees ended the month of April with a 21-6 record. It is the most wins by the end of April in the history of major league baseball. The Brewers, if they win their next three games at home against the Cubs, and then sweep the Cardinals in St. Louis in a series ending April 30, would end the month with 22 wins, a new record.

Let’s take a step back. Here’s a few possible scenarios for the Brewers as they close out the month of April.

If the Brewers win two of their next six games this month:
*     Their 18 wins would make them only the 25th team in MLB history to end the month of April with at least 18 wins. The last team to win 18 or more by the end of April were the Boston Red Sox last season (they won 18 by April 30; they went on to win the World Series… more on that in a minute).

If the Brewers win three of their next six games this month:
*     Their 19 wins would make them the sixth team in MLB history to win 19 or more games by the end of April. Last team to do so were the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 (they won 20 before April 30 that season)

If the Brewers win four of their next six games this month:
*     Their 20 win would make them only the fourth team in history to win 20 or more games by the end of April. They would join Seattle (20 wins in 2001), the Yankees (21 in 2003) and the Diamondbacks (20 in 2008) as the only teams to win 20 or more by the end of April.

If the Brewers win five of their next six games this month:
*     They would tie the Yankees for the record for most wins by the end of April (21)

If the Brewers win all six of their remaining games this month:
*     Their 22 wins would set the MLB record for most wins by the end of April.

A lot of “ifs” in the above scenarios. As stated above, if the Brewers can get at least two wins before the end of the month they will hit the 18-win mark, something that has been done only 24 times in MLB history. Of those 24 teams that did win 18 or more by the end of April in a season, 17 of those teams made the playoffs that year. Of the 24 teams, five went on to play in the World Series that season: Detroit (18 in 1984), Oakland (18 wins in 1989), San Diego (19 in 1998), the Yankees (21 in 2003) and Boston (18 in 2013). The Tigers, A’s and Red Sox won the World Series that year; the Padres and Yanks were on the losing end that season.

One final note: The Brewers 16 wins this season tie them with the 1998 and 2007 Brewers teams that also won 16 games by the end of April. Both of those team ended April with 16-9 marks. The Brewers best record by the end of April was in 1987 when the Brew Crew entered May of that season with an 18-3 record.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


Ryan Braun nears team record for multi-HR games


Ryan Braun on Saturday hit a pair of home runs (one in the 7th inning and another in the 9th) to give the Brewers an 8-7 come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. For Braun, it was his second game of the young 2014 season with two or more HRs (he hit three in a game earlier this season against the Phillies). Last season, in a year Braun would likely want to forget, he did not have a multi-HR game.

The multi-HR game on April 19th was the 20th of Braun’s career. He is now only two away from the Brewers club record held by Prince Fielder who had 22 multi-HR games in his career with the Brew Crew. Here’s a look at the Brewers players with 10 or more multi-HR games in their careers in Milwaukee.

Multi-HR games with the Brewers
22: Prince Fielder
20: Ryan Braun
19: Gorman Thomas
14: Robin Yount, Greg Vaughn, Corey Hart, Cecil Cooper, Jeromy Burnitz
12: Richie Sexson, Rob Deer
11: Dave Nilsson
10: Ben Oglivie, Geoff Jenkins

Since he came into the league in 2007, Braun’s 20 multi-HR games ranks tied for eighth. Since 2007, Albert Pujols has 30 such games, most in the majors. He is followed by four players with 22 (Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder and Jose Bautista), two with 21 (Mark Teixeira and Miguel Cabrera) and Braun and Adam Dunn with 20.

The MLB leader for career multi-HR games is not a surprise. Babe Ruth had 72 such games, edging out HR career leader Barry Bonds who had 71. In addition to Ruth and Bonds, nine other players have had 50 or more multi-HR games in their careers: Sammy Sosa (69), Mark McGwire (67), Willie Mays (63), Hank Aaron (62), Alex Rodriguez (60), Ken Griffey, Jr. (55), Jimmie Foxx (55), Frank Robinson (54) and Manny Ramirez (54).

One final note on Braun’s multi-HR games: The Brewers are 16-4 in games when Braun hits two or more home runs. In fact, the Brewers have now won 11 straight when Braun has a multi-HR game. Their last loss was on June 7, 2009.


Longest active playoff streak in major pro sports

Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings last night began their 2014 NHL playoff run with a 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins. The Red Wings are playing in their 23rd consecutive NHL playoffs, not only the longest active streak in the league, but also the longest active streak in the four major professional sports.

The San Antonio Spurs tomorrow will begin their 2014 NBA playoff season when they face off against the Dallas Mavericks. It will be the 17th straight season that the Spurs have made the playoffs in the NBA, longest active streak in the league, and second to the Red Wings as the longest active playoff streak in the four major pro sports.

Here’s a look at the current active streaks in the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB for playoff appearances.

Longest active streak of playoff appearances

23 seasons: Detroit (NHL)

17: San Antonio (NBA)

10: San Jose (NHL)

8: Pittsburgh (NHL)

7: Atlanta (NBA), Boston (NHL)

6: Chicago (NBA), Miami (NBA), Chicago (NHL)

5: Green Bay (NFL), New England (NFL), Oklahoma City (NBA), L.A. Kings (NHL)

4: Indiana (NBA), Memphis (NBA), N.Y. Rangers (NHL)

3: Detroit (MLB), St. Louis (MLB), Cincinnati (NFL), Denver (NFL), San Francisco (NFL), L.A. Clippers (NBA), St. Louis (NHL)

Considering that the NHL and NBA have playoffs with 16 teams, it’s no surprise that several of their teams are on the list above. Major League Baseball, which has 10 teams make their playoffs (it was only eight until last season) and the NFL, which has a 12-team format (likely to go to 14 in the near future), have fewer teams appear on the list. The MLB Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals are the only two baseball teams to have played in the last three MLB playoffs, while the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots top NFL teams with five straight playoff appearances.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp



Indiana, San Antonio gain #1 seeds in NBA playoffs


In some respects, it should not come as a surprise that the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs are the two #1 seeds as the NBA 2014 playoff season begins this weekend. First, of the 16 playoff teams, the Pacers had the most victories at home with 35. The Spurs, on the other hand, had the most road wins of the playoff teams with 30.

Here’s a look at the number of home and road wins for each of the 16 teams in this year’s NBA playoffs (each team played 41 home and away games in the season).

Home wins
35: Indiana
34: L.A. Clippers, Oklahoma City
33: Houston
32: Miami, San Antonio
31: Portland
28: Brooklyn
27: Chicago, Golden State, Memphis
26: Dallas, Toronto
25: Charlotte
24: Atlanta
22: Washington

Road wins
30: San Antonio
25: Oklahoma City
24: Golden State
23: Dallas, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Portland
22: Miami, Toronto, Washington
21: Chicago, Houston, Indiana
18: Charlotte
16: Brooklyn
14: Atlanta

Of the 16 playoff teams, the Pacers had the biggest disparity between home wins and road wins during the 2013-14 regular season. The Pacers had 35 home wins and 21 road wins, a disparity of 14 wins. Brooklyn and Houston were next, each with a +12 disparity between home and road wins.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp






Which franchise has had the best trio of running backs in NFL history?


Think back to your childhood. Do you remember…

* My dad can beat up your dad
* Hank Aaron is better than Willie Mays
* Superman could beat up Batman

Arguments or debates as a child were always fun. So, let’s turn back the clock a little. It’s the offseason for the NFL. There’s a few weeks until the NFL draft. We’ve got some time to debate this issue…

Which NFL franchise has had the best trio of running backs in NFL history?

To get the ball rolling, here’s my top 10. I looked at a few stats, looked up a few numbers, and tried to recall the careers of some of these running backs. I’m not willing to go to war with these picks, but it should be a good start for some debate. What’s your choice?

Best running back trios in NFL history

1. Dallas Cowboys (Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, Don Perkins). Smith and Dorsett are both in the Hall of Fame and are one of only three pairs of running backs to have over 10,000 yards rushing for one team. Perkins had 6217 yards in his Cowboys career. Smith is the league’s all-time leading rusher and led the league twice for most yards in a season. Smith had 11 1,000-yard seasons, Dorsett had eight. Smith was a league and Super Bowl MVP.

2. Cleveland Browns (Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly, Marion Motley). Each of these RBs is in the Hall of Fame, although Brown is the only one of the group to gain over 10,000 yards with the team. Kelly had 7274 yards, while Motley had 4712. Brown led the league in rushing a record eight times.

3. Buffalo Bills (Thurman Thomas, O.J. Simpson, Fred Jackson). Thomas and Simpson both gained over 10,000 yards with the Bills. Jackson had 5121. Simpson led the league in rushing on four seasons. Both Thomas and Simpson are in the Hall of Fame.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (Franco Harris, Jerome Bettis, John Henry Johnson). Another pair of 10,000-yard rushers in Harris and Bettis. Harris and Johnson are in the Hall, and Bettis will likely make it three. Johnson had only 4381 yards rushing in his Pittsburgh career. Harris had a Super Bowl MVP Award on his resume.

5. St. Louis Rams/L.A Rams (Steven Jackson, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk). Dickerson and Faulk are Hall of Famers, although neither gained over 8,000 yards in their career with the Rams. Jackson had 10135 yards in his St. Louis career with eight 1,000-yard seasons. Faulk was a league MVP recipient.

6. Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers (Eddie George, Earl Campbell, Chris Johnson). One of only two teams to have three runners with more than 7500 career rushing yards. Campbell is in the Hall of Fame and was a league MVP in 1980 with the Oilers.

7. Chicago Bears (Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, Matt Forte). Payton is second on the all-time career list for yards and had 10 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Sayers and Payton are both in the Hall of Fame, although Sayers had under 5000 yards rushing in his career. Forte has 6666 rushing yards in his career with the Bears.

8. Green Bay Packers (Ahman Green, Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung). Hornung and Taylor both have Hall of Fame and league MVPs on their resumes. Hornung had only 3711 yards rushing in his career. Green holds the team career rushing record with 8322 yards gained.

9. San Francisco 49ers (Frank Gore, Joe Perry, Roger Craig). This trio each had over 7000 yards rushing with the 49ers. Perry is a Hall of Famer, while Craig made his mark as not only a runner, but as a receiver out of the backfield.

10. New York Jets (Curtis Martin, Freeman McNeil, Emerson Boozer). Martin is in the Hall after gaining 10302 yards for the Jets in his career. McNeil gained over 8000, while Boozer had 5135. Martin also had 10 1000-yard seasons, including seven with the Jets.

So which team is your choice for the best trio of running backs? Let the debate begin.




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