(A weekly look at several sports stats you may not know)
- The NBA has decided that voting for this year’s major awards (MVP, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, etc.) will not include games that are played at the end of July (and into August) which will complete the 2019-20 season. Instead, the league has stated that these awards will be based on performances from the start of the 2019-20 season through March 11, 2020, when the league shut down due to the pandemic. This may be good news for Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reigning league MVP was one of the favorites to take home the MVP this season until the halt in play. Should he win the MVP award again this season, he would become only the 12th player in NBA history to win back-to-back MVP awards. The other 11 are: Steph Curry, LeBron James, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Bird, Chamberlain and Russell are the only players to win the league’s MVP award in three consecutive seasons.
- In just two seasons with the Brewers, Christian Yelich has won a National League MVP Award and finished second the other year; he has amassed 80 home runs and 52 stolen bases with the Brewers in two seasons. In these two years, Yelich has accomplished what only 10 other Brewers players have… a career with the Brewers with 80 or more HRs and 50 or more stolen bases. The other Brewers players with 80 HR and 50 stolen bases in their Milwaukee careers: Ryan Braun (344 HR-215 steals), Robin Yount (251-271), Cecil Cooper 9201-77), Greg Vaughn (169-62), Paul Molitor (160-412), Corey Hart (154-83), Rickie Weeks (148-126), Don Money (134-66), Jose Valentin (90-75) and Carlos Gomez (87-152).
- Brandon Woodruff was the Brewers Opening Day starting pitcher for this season, becoming the seventh different pitcher to start the first game of the season for the Crew in the last seven seasons. The Opening Day Brewers pitchers over the past six seasons: 2020: Brandon Woodruff, 2019: Jhoulys Chacin, 2018: Chase Anderson, 2017: Junior Guerra, 2016: Wily Peralta, 2015: Kyle Lohse, 2014: Yovani Gallardo.
- Hall of Fame quarterbacks every once in a while have a bad game… a terrible game. Did you know that since 1966 (the start of the Super Bowl era) there have been seven Hall of Fame quarterbacks who had a game where they had no TD passes and five or more interceptions in that game? The seven: Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino, Joe Namath (he did it twice!), Ken Stabler, Bart Starr, Fran Tarkenton and Johnny Unitas.
- Some of you may find this hard to believe, but Brewers manager Craig Counsell is the longest tenured manager in the National League. Counsell was hired to manage the Brewers on May 4, 2015. The second-longest tenured skipper in the N.L. is Miami’s Don Mattlingly; he was hired as the Marlins’ manager on November 2, 2015. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was also hired in 2015 (November 23, 2015) and is the third-highest tenured manager in the N.L. Over in the American League, Oakland’s Bob Melvin tops the list as not only the A.L.’s longest-tenured manager, but all of baseball. He was hired by the A’s on June 9, 2011. Following Melvin on the list in the A.L. are Terry Francona (Cleveland-October 6, 2012), Kevin Cash (Tampa Bay, December 5, 2014) and Scott Servais (Seattle-October 23, 2015).
- LeBron James is averaging 10.6 assists per game this season. If he ends the season averaging 10.0 or more assists per game, he will become only the second player age 35 or older to average 10 or more assists per game for a season. The other player? Steve Nash. He averaged 10.0 or more assists per game in a season when he was 35, 36 and 37 years of age.
- Here’s a really interesting trivia question for you to share with your friends, especially if you are all Brewers fans: Can you name the three players who played 1,000 or more games with the Brewers but never made an All-Star team as a member of the Brewers? The answer: Jim Gantner (1,801 games), Charlie Moore (1,283 games) and BJ Surhoff (1,102 games). Surhoff was an all-star with the Baltimore Orioles in 1999. He played for the Brewers from 1987-95.
- Last season in the NFL there were four quarterbacks who passed for 4,500 or more yards: Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott, Philip Rivers and Jared Goff. Since the AFL-NFL merger (1970), there have been 62 times when a QB has passed for 4,500 or more yards in a season. Five of those happened in the 1980s, three in the 1990s, 11 in the 2000s, and there were 43 times it happened from 2010-19. Of those 62 QBs, 26 of the 62 were age 22-29, 14 of the 62 were age 30-33, and 22 of the 62 were age 34 or older.
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Brewers Trivia: How well do you know the team?
With professional sports on a sort of hiatus because of the Coronavirus, there’s not much stat analysis to write about. How about a little trivia?
Here’s three trivia questions for Brewers fans. Try to read the questions and guess the answers before skipping down to the answers.
- Three Brewers players played 1,000 or more games with the team but never made it on an all-star team while with the Brewers. Can you name the three?
- Name the Brewers managers who have been named Manager of the Year in either the American League or National League.
- From 2011 to 2019, there were nine different players who were the Opening Day starting first baseman for the Brewers. How many of the nine can you name?
Answer #1: Jim Gantner tops the list of most games played in a Brewers uniform without ever making the all-star team as a member of the Brew Crew. Gantner played 1,801 games with the Brewers but did not play in an All-Star Game. Charlie Moore (1,283 games with the Brewers) and B.J. Surhoff (1,102 games with the Brewers) are the other two players. Surhoff did play in the 1999 All-Star Game as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.
Answer #2: Trick question. The Brewers have never had one of their managers finish first in the voting for a Manager of the Year Award. There have had four Brewers managers who finished second in the voting for the award: Tom Trebelhorn (1987), Phil Garner (1992), Ron Roenicke (2011) and Craig Counsell (2018 and 2019).
Answer #3: Opening Day starting first basemen for the Brewers: 2011-Prince Fielder, 2012-Mat Gamel, 2013-Alex Gonzalez, 2014-Lyle Overbay, 2015-Adam Lind, 2016-Chris Carter, 2017-Eric Thames, 2018-Ryan Braun, 2019-Jesus Aguilar.
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Complete Games not a common theme during Counsell’s tenure
If you follow baseball, you know that relief pitching and managing the bullpen are key factors in today’s game, and that starting pitching, and specifically, complete games, is a quickly dying occurrence.
The Milwaukee Brewers are a prime example of this trend. Manager Craig Counsel begins his sixth season with the team and the way he handles the pitching staff is either the reason for the most recent success Counsell and the Brewers have had, or it is a cause for frustration for Brewers fans (and maybe the team’s starting pitching staff).
Debate about why this has happened within the Brewers pitching staff can shift from a strong bullpen to a weak starting staff. Most everyone has an opinion. But the numbers don’t lie… complete games are on the decline for every team and the game has changed, especially when it comes to how pitching staffs are handled.
The complete game stats are pretty significant when you look at the past five seasons with Counsell in charge. From 2015-19, the Brewers had only two complete games (Taylor Jungmann on July 11, 2015 and Jimmy Nelson on June 18, 2017). That is tied for the fewest complete games in the majors over the past five years with the Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff.
If we look at the past two seasons, the Brew Crew had zero complete games, one of four teams that did not have a complete game over the past two seasons. The others were the Rays, Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres.
Here is a look at the number of complete games each MLB pitching staff had in the past five seasons (2015-19).
22: San Francisco
20: Boston, Chicago White Sox
15: Chicago Cubs, Minnesota, Seattle
14: L.A. Dodgers
13: Houston, Texas
11: Oakland, Pittsburgh, Washington
10: N.Y. Mets, Toronto
9: Kansas City, Philadelphia
8: Colorado, L.A. Angels, N.Y. Yankees, St. Louis
7: Arizona, Atlanta, Cincinnati
4: Baltimore, Florida, San Diego
2: Milwaukee, Tampa Bay
- The Brewers have had zero complete games in three (2016, 2018, 2019) of Counsell’s five seasons. The only other season where the Brew Crew had zero complete games was in 2012.
- The last season where the Brewers had double-digits in complete games was in 2008 when they had 12.
- Most complete games in a season for the Brewers pitching staff? In 1978 they had 62 complete games; the following year they had 61.
- In the first 26 years of the Brewers franchise (1969-94) the team had a total of 836 complete games; in the last 25 years (1995-2019) the team had 89 complete games.
You get the point!
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Counsell bringing stability to Brewers dugout
Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell in 2020 will be starting his sixth season (yes, he has been the manager for five seasons already!). That is noteworthy from the standpoint that only three other Brewers managers in team history had a stretch of more than five years as manager of the team.
Back in 2015 when Counsell was handed the job after a stint in the Brewers front office, many questioned the move, especially considering that Counsell did not have any managerial experience. But with two consecutive post-season appearances in 2018 and 2019 and a regular season record 24 games above .500, Counsell, with more success in the future, could make a move to challenge the most career games and career wins by a Brewers skipper.
For the record, Counsell is 405-381 record (.515 winning percentage) in his five seasons with the Brew Crew.
- Counsell is only 53 wins from taking over second place on the team’s list for most wins by a manager. There’s a good chance that could happen this year.
- He is 158 wins as a manager from the top spot. A pair of good seasons in 2020 and 2021 could launch Counsell into first place on that list.
- His 786 regular season games managed for the team ranks fourth. He is 34 games out of third place. To take over the top spot from Phil Garner, Counsell will probably have to manage the team well into the 2022 season to surpass Garner.
- He is one of four Brewers managers with 400 or more career wins. The only Brewers manager with 500 or more wins is Garner with 563.
- Of the seven Brewers managers who managed the team for 500 or more career regular season games, Counsell’s .515 winning percentage is tied for second with Tom Trebelhorn, only .003 points behind George Bamberger, who tops the list at .518.
- Counsell last season became the only Brewers skipper in team history to lead the team to two post-season appearances. He also became the 93rd manager in MLB history to have two or more appearances in the post-season on his managerial resume.
- His six playoff wins as a manager of the Brewers ties him with Harvey Kuenn for most in team history.
- His 10 playoff games managed with the team is third on the list behind Kuenn with 12 and Ron Roenicke with 11.
Here is a list of the seven men who have managed the Brewers for 500 or more regular season games (also noted is their win-loss record and winning percentage in those games).
Phil Garner, 1180, 563-617 .477
Ned Yost, 959, 457-502 .477
Tom Trebelhorn, 819, 422-397 .515
Craig Counsell, 786, 405-381 .515
George Bamberger, 728, 377-351 .518
Ron Roenicke, 673, 342-331 .508
Del Crandall, 609, 271-338 .445
Note: Of the remaining 12 men who have managed the Brewers in the team’s history, none skippered the team for more than 300 games.
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TODAY’s SPORTSTAT-November 15, 2018
With Craig Counsell’s second-place finish in the 2018 National League Manager of the Year race, the Brewers still have not had one of their managers win this award. Counsell became the fourth Brewers manager to finish second in a Manager of the Year honor since the birth of the franchise in 1969.
Counsell finished 17 points behind Atlanta skipper Brian Snitker in this year’s race. That’s the second closest second-place finish for a Milwaukee manager since Tom Trebelhorn finished second 12 points behind Sparky Anderson in the 1987 American League Manager of the Year award.
There have been 12 seasons where a Brewers manager received votes for the Manager of the Year award. Here’s a look at those 12 times:
1987: Tom Trebelhorn (finished 2nd)
1988: Tom Trebelhorn (finished 4th)
1992: Phil Garner (finished 2nd)
1995: Phil Garner (finished 6th)
1997: Phil Garner (finished 3rd)
2005: Ned Yost (finished 5th)
2007: Ned Yost (finished 7th)
2008: Dale Sveum (finished 8th)
2011: Ron Roenicke (finished 2nd)
2014: Ron Roenicke (finished 7th)
2017: Craig Counsell (finished 4th)
2018: Craig Counsell (finished 2nd
Win increase in three straight seasons
One of the reasons why Counsell received significant support for the N.L. Manager of the Year award this season is the fact that the team won the N.L. Central Division and increased their win total by 10 wins over 2017. The Brewers won 86 games in 2017 and won 96 this past campaign.
The Brewers are one of four teams that have increased their win totals in each of the past three seasons. The Brewers won 68 in 2015, 73 in 2016, 86 in 2017 and 96 in 2018. The other teams that have increased their win totals in each of the past three seasons:
Colorado: 68-75-87-91 (the Rockies have actually increased their win totals in each of the past four seasons… they won 66 games in 2014)
The Brewers also became one of only a handful of MLB teams in history that saw their win totals in four consecutive years go from 60-70-80-90. Can they keep the streak alive and win 100 or more games in 2019, thus joining one other team that went 60-70-80-90-100 wins in five straight seasons?
Following are the MLB teams that had 60-70-80-90 win seasons in four consecutive years (seasons that were shortened due to any strike or work stoppage are not included).
Milwaukee (2015-18): 68-73-86-96
Colorado (2015-18): 68-75-87-91
New York Mets (2003-06): 66-71-83-97
Oakland (1997-2001): 65-74-87-91-102 (5 seasons)
St. Louis Cardinals: (1924-27): 65-77-89-92
St. Louis Browns (1919-22): 67-76-81-93
Brooklyn (1912-16): 58-65-75-80-94 (5 seasons)
Brewers pitching staff with only one 10-game winner
Jhoulys Chacin led the Brewers pitching staff with 15 wins in 2018. What makes that stat all the more interesting is that Chacin was the only Brewers hurler to win 10 or more games. It was the seventh time in team history that happened.
Sixty-five different pitchers have won 10 or more games in a season with the Brewers. Jim Slaton leads that group with nine double-digit win seasons for the Brew Crew. He is followed by Ben Sheets with seven, Mike Caldwell and Moose Haas with six, and Yovani Gallardo and Teddy Higuera with five each.
Here are the seven seasons when only one Brewers pitcher won 10 or more games for the club that year:
1984: Don Sutton, 14
1985: Teddy Higuera, 15
1995: Ricky Bones, 10
2012: Yovani Gallardo, 16
2015: Jimmy Nelson, 11
2016: Zach Davies, 11
2018: Jhoulys Chacin, 15
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