Today’s Sportstat: February 21, 2019

Can the Brewers finally post back-to-back playoff seasons?

The beginning of 2019 Major League Baseball’s spring training is a time for most of the 30 MLB teams to start the chatter of a potential championship this season. Yes, title hopes run rampant in February.

Just making the playoffs is a key first step to any professional team’s championship run. It’s interesting to note that baseball probably has the most difficult path for teams to take towards a title, especially if you go by the numbers: Of the four professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL), baseball has the fewest teams that make the playoffs after their regular season with 10 (and that’s after adding two additional teams to the post-season format just a few short years ago). The NFL is next with 12 of their 32 teams qualifying for the playoffs, and the NBA and NHL each have 16 of their teams advance to the playoffs.

The Brewers took that all-important first step last year when they made the playoffs and finished one game short of reaching the World Series. The question this year is: Can they repeat the 2018 season and make a return appearance in the ’19 post-season? Considering that the Brewers have not made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1981-82, Brew Crew faithful have their fingers crossed that their team can do something this season that hasn’t happened in almost 40 years… back-to-back playoff seasons.

Last season seven of the 10 MLB teams that played in the post-season also played in the 2017 playoffs: Boston, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, L.A. Dodgers and the N.Y. Yankees. The Brewers, Oakland and Atlanta were the three teams that made the playoffs in 2018 after not making the post-season the previous campaign.

Of the 30 current MLB franchises, 26 have made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons at least once this century. Two franchises, the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox, have never made the MLB post-season in back-to-back seasons in their histories. Two other teams, the Brewers and the Baltimore Orioles, have previously appeared in the post-season in back-to-back seasons, but not this century (the White Sox failure to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons is quite amazing considering they have been around as a franchise since 1901!). The Brewers, as mentioned above, last made the post-season in back-to-back years in 1981 and 1982, while the Orioles last made the post-season in consecutive years in 1996 and 1997.

Here’s a look at the last time each of the 30 MLB teams made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

Never: Chicago White Sox
Never: Miami Marlins
1981-82: Milwaukee
1996-97: Baltimore
2000-01: Seattle
2001-02: Arizona
2002-03: San Francisco
2005-06: San Diego
2008-09: L.A. Angels
2009-10: Minnesota
2010-11: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay
2012-13: Atlanta, Cincinnati
2013-14: Detroit, Oakland
2014-15: Kansas City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis
2015-16: N.Y. Mets, Texas, Toronto
2016-17: Washington
2017-18: Boston, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, L.A. Dodgers, N.Y. Yankees

 

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Today’s Sportstat: February 17, 2019

Bucks teams with five or more players averaging 12.0 or more points per game

One of the reasons the Milwaukee Bucks went into the All-Star Game with the league’s best record was the play of their starting five: Giannis Antekounmpo, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon.

This quintet has been the same starting unit for most of the Bucks games this season and they are collectively averaging 88 points out of the team’s 116.9 that they are averaging to this point in the season. Led by Giannis’ 27.2 points per game, the Bucks have five players who are averaging 12 or more points per game: Middleton (17.1), Bledsoe (15.8), Brogdon (15.8) and Lopez (12.1).

Having five players average 12 or more points per game in a season has been a rare occurrence for the Bucks. In fact, three Bucks’ teams had six players average 12 or more per game, but none with five players reaching that points per game milestone.

The last time the Bucks had five or more players average 12 or more points per game in a season was in 1989 when six players reached those numbers. The team also had six players reach 12 or more points per game in 1981 and 1982.

Here is a look at the three Bucks teams that had six players average 12 or more points per game for a season.

1989: Jack Sikma (13.4), Paul Pressey (12.1), Ricky Pierce (17.6), Sidney Moncrief (12.1), Larry Krystkowiak (12.7) and Terry Cummings (22.9).

1982: Brian Winters (15.9), Sidney Moncrief (19.8), Bob Lanier (13.5), Mickey Johnson (12.9), Marques Johnson (16.5) and Quinn Buckner (12.9).

1981: Sidney Moncrief (14.0), Bob Lanier (14.3), Mickey Johnson (12.5), Marques Johnson (20.3), Quinn Buckner (13.3) and Junior Bridgeman (16.8).

In the 50 NBA season prior to this campaign, the Bucks have had four or more players end the season averaging 12.0 or more points per game in 23 of those 50 seasons.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: February 11, 2019

Players with the most games in a Brewers uniform

Let’s start with a quick quiz:

There have been 12 players who have played in 1,000 or more games with the Brewers. Can you name them? (The answer will appear towards the bottom of this article… don’t cheat; try to name the 12 before you continue reading the rest of this article.)

Before we get to the 12, did you know that Prince Fielder fell just two games short of having played in 1,000 games with the Milwaukee Brewers? Fielder ended his career with the Brewers with 998 games played. He is one of four players who played in 900 games with the team but fell short of the 1,000-game milestone. The four:

Prince Fielder, 998 games with the Brewers
Jeff Cirillo, 978 games with the Brewers
Corey Hart, 945 games with the Brewers
Greg Vaughn, 903 games with the Brewers.

As you might expect, there are no pitchers on the list of the players with 1,000 or more games in a Brewers uniform. There are, however, four pitchers who appeared in 300 or more games with the Brewers: Dan Plesac (365), Jim Slaton (364), Bob McClure (352) and Chuck Crim (332).

Current Brewers reliever Jerremy Jeffress is the active pitcher with the most games with the team, 253. That puts him in a tie for 11th place with Bill Wegman on the all-time list for most appearances by a Brewers pitcher.

Ryan Braun is the active player on the Brewers roster who has played in the most games for the team. He ranks fourth on the all-time list with 1,583 games played for the Brew Crew. Do you know which player on the current roster is second in this category with 481 games played with the Brewers? (Answer at the bottom of the article.)

As you might expect, Robin Yount tops the list with 2,856 games played for the Brewers. Following are the 12 played who have played in 1,000 or more games in a Brewers uniform.

Robin Yount, 2,856
Paul Molitor, 1,856
Jim Gantner, 1,801
Ryan Braun, 1,583
Cecil Cooper, 1,490
Charlie Moore, 1,283
Geoff Jenkins, 1,234
Don Money, 1,196
Ben Oglivie, 1,149
Rickie Weeks, 1,142
Gorman Thomas, 1,103
B.J. Surhoff, 1,102

Hernan Perez ranks second behind Braun in most games played by an active Brewers player; he has appeared in 481 games with the team.

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Today’s Sports Stat: February 9, 2019

Scorers make up the bulk of All-Star Game selections

If you need any proof that players who score a lot of points find a way onto an NBA All-Star Game roster, consider this: Of the 31 players who are currently (through games of February 8) averaging 20 or more points per game this season, 20 of them are on one of the two NBA All-Star Game rosters.

Of the 11 players who are averaging 20+ points per game that did not make the All-Star Game rosters this season, Devin Booker leads the way with a 24.9 points per game average this season. He is tied for 12th in the league’s scoring race.

There are six players who made this year’s All-Star Game who have a scoring average less than 20 points per game: Dwyane Wade (14.0) and Ben Simmons (17.0) from Team LeBron; and Kyle Lowry (14.2), Khris Middleton (17.3), Dirk Nowitzki (4.4) and D’Angelo Russell (19.8) from Team Giannis. For the record, Wade and Nowitzki were added to this year’s roster by Commissioner Adam Silver as special roster additions.

There have been 15 players who played in an NBA All-Star Game who ended the season with a scoring average of 10 points or less. The last player in this category was back in the 2005-06 season when Ben Wallace played in the All-Star Game that year and ended the season with a 7.3 per game scoring average. Wallace made an NBA All-Star Game roster four straight seasons (2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06) with a season-ending points per game average under 10 points per game. (Of course, savvy NBA fans will know that Wallace’s main contribution during his career was rebounding and defense.)

Here are the players who made an All-Star Game roster in a season when their season-ending scoring average was 10 points or less that year.

7 seasons: Dick McGuire
4 seasons: Ben Wallace
2 seasons: Slater Martin, Dennis Rodman
1 season: Don Buse, James Donaldson, Mark Eaton, Bill Gabor, Tom Gola, Bob Harrison, Dikembe Mutumbo, Andy Phillip, Richie Regan, Bill Russell, Wes Unseld.

There have been seven players who ended an NBA season with a per-game scoring average above 27 points per game who did not make the All-Star Game that season. They are:

Adrian Dantley, 1982-83, 30.7 points per game
Bob Rule, 1970-71, 29.8
World B. Free, 1978-79, 28.8
Tiny Archibald, 1971-72, 28.2
Purvis Short, 1984-85, 28.0
Dominique Wilkins, 1984-85, 27.4
Wilt Chamberlain, 1969-70, 27.3

There have also been 25 players who averaged 25 or more points per game in a season that did not make an NBA All-Star Game roster that season. Three players, Damian Lillard, Michael Redd and Purvis Short have had it happen to them twice in their careers.

Here’s one more stat: Noted above is that 20 of the 31 players averaging 20 or more points per game this season made an All-Star Game squad (64.5%). Of the 17 players averaging 10 or more rebounds per game this season, seven (41%) made the All-Star game; of the 14 players averaging seven or more assists per game, seven (50%) made the All-Star Game; of the 15 players averaging 1.6 or more steals per game, six (40%) made the All-Star Game; and, of the 14 players who are averaging 1.5 or more blocks per game, only three (21%) made an All-Star game roster.

Yes, the numbers show us… putting the ball in the basket is the key for finding a way onto an NBA All-Star Game roster.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: February 3, 2019

Bucks’ 50-game stats put them in exclusive company

When the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Toronto Raptors on January 30 in Game #50 of the season, it upped their record to 37-13 (a .740 winning percentage). That win also helped the team reach a sort of milestone in league history: The Bucks became the 100th team in league history to reach 37 or more wins in their first 50 games of a season.

The .740 winning percentage at the 50-game mark is now tied for the fourth highest in team history, and this year’s team became the seventh team in franchise history to have a .700 or better winning percentage 50 games into the season. Here are those seven Bucks’ teams.

1970-71, 41-9 (.820)
1971-72, 39-11 (.780)
1973-74, 39-11 (.780)
1980-81, 37-13 (.740)
2018-19, 37-13 (.740)
1972-73, 36-14 (.720)
1981-82, 36-14 (.720)

Of the seven Bucks teams that were at a .700 or better winning percentage at the 50-game mark, the 70-71 team won the NBA title that year, while the 73-74 squad lost in the NBA Finals that season. The 71-72 team lost in the Western Conference Finals that year; the remaining three teams above each lost in a conference semi-finals that season.

This year’s team scored 5,849 points through the first 50 games, the second-most in team history (the 1970-71 team had 5,969 points through their first 50 games). In addition, this year’s team allowed 5,363 points through their first 50 games, sixth fewest in team history.

But here’s an amazing stat to consider when you put the points scored and points allowed through 50 games together as a stat: This year’s Bucks became only the sixth team in NBA history to score more than 5,800 points and allow less than 5,400 points in their first 50 games of the season.

Following are the six teams who reached this rare stat through the first 50 games of a season:

1966-67, Boston, 5808 points scored, 5380 points allowed

1970-71, Milwaukee, 5969 points scored, 5320 points allowed

1986-87, L.A. Lakers, 5865 points scored, 5384 points allowed

1990-91, Portland, 5836 points scored, 5314 points allowed

2016-17, Golden State, 5921 points scored, 5263, points allowed

2018-19, Milwaukee, 5849 points scored, 5363 points allowed.

Of the five teams who reached this stat prior to the Bucks this season, three won the NBA Finals that season (1970-71 Bucks, 1986-87 Lakers and 2016-17 Warriors), while the 1966-67 Celtics and 1990-91 Trailblazers each lost in a conference finals matchup.

 

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