The Brewers will enter the month of September anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 games behind the Cubs in the N.L. Central pennant race and anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies for the last Wild Card spot. How they play this final month will determine whether or not they are one of the five N.L. teams in the post-season.
So how have the Brewers played in previous Septembers? Here are six stats you may not know about the Brewers in September (for the sake of this article, September and October regular season games are included together).
- The Brewers best September was in 1992 when they went 22-9 (.710 winning percentage). The 22 wins and .710 winning percentage are both team records for September.
- The Brew Crew won 20 or more games in September four times… in ’92, as mentioned above, and they won 21 in 1987 and 1991, and had 20 victories in September in 2012.
- Milwaukee was over .500 in September in only 20 of their 47 seasons in franchise history.
- The fewest wins in September was seven in 1995; the teams ended that month 7-21 (a .250 winning percentage). That .250 percentage, however, is not the lowest September winning percentage in team history… the Brewers went 8-26 in 1976, a .235 winning percentage.
- The Brewers were 16-13 (.552) in September last season, but the previous two seasons (2014 and 2015) were not as kind to the team. They were 13-19 in September 2015 and only 9-17 in September 2014. That’s a 38-49 record (.437) in September games over the past three campaigns.
- The Brewers have had six seasons where they were .600 or better in September. In five of those six seasons, the pitching staff’s ERA was under 3.50 that month. Of the 15 seasons where the Brewers’ pitching staff ERA was under 3.50 in September, the team played above .500 in the month in 10 of those 15 seasons.
Jeff Samardzija, pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, hurled a three-hit, complete-game shutout in the Giants’ 3-0 win over San Diego on Monday night. It was the sixth straight year that Samardzija had at least one complete game in a season.
Baseball fans know that the complete game has become somewhat of a lost art in today’s game (that’s a topic for a future stat). If we look at past history, Nolan Ryan holds the MLB record for most seasons with at least one complete game with 24. He is followed by Early Wynn (23) and Dennis Martinez, Don Sutton and Tommy John (each with 22).
Sutton holds the MLB record for most consecutive seasons with at least one complete game at 22.
For Brewers fans, Moose Haas holds the team record for most seasons with one or more complete game with nine. He is followed by Mike Caldwell (8) and Ben Sheets, Bill Wegman and Jim Slaton (each with 7).
Is it possible that the Brewers will have their first 20-game winner in more than 30 years?
With his victory last night in the Brewers’ 3-0 win over the Dodgers, starting pitcher Zach Davies won his 15th game of the season. He is tied with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw for most wins this season in the majors. With 32 games left on the schedule, Davies will probably get six more starts in 2017. He would need to win five of those six starts to reach the 20-win milestone.
The Brewers are one of eight MLB teams that have not had a 20-game winner this century. Colorado is the only team that has never had a 20-game winner, and the San Diego Padres have not had a 20-game winner since Gaylord Perry did it in 1978, the longest drought of the teams that have had a 20-game winner in their franchise history.
Here is a look at the last season each team had a 20-game winner.
1978: San Diego
1989: Kansas City
1993: San Francisco
2003: Atlanta, Chicago White Sox
2010: N.Y. Yankees, Philadelphia
2012: L.A. Angels, N.Y. Mets, Tampa Bay
2014: Cincinnati, L.A. Dodgers, St. Louis
2015: Chicago Cubs, Houston
2016: Boston, Toronto, Washington
Here’s a trio of baseball stats for today:
- Brewers’ fans may notice a couple of familiar names atop the American League RBI list. Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are 1-2 in RBIs in the A.L.; both made their MLB debuts as Brewers. Cruz, who is now with the Seattle Mariners, leads the A.L. in ribbies with 96. He made his debut with the Brewers in 2005 playing eight games and going one-for-five. He was traded in 2006 to Texas along with Carlos Lee for Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix and a minor leaguer. Davis, who is with Oakland, has 86 RBIs this season. He made his MLB debut with the Brewers in 2013. He had 60 HRs and 160 RBIs for the Brew Crew in three seasons before his trade to Oakland in 2016 for a pair of minor leaguers.
- It appears that Houston second baseman Jose Altuve will win his third A.L. batting crown this year. He is hitting .362 this season, 42 points higher than his closest competitor. If he wins the A.L. batting title this season, he would become the 12th player to win three or more batting titles in the A.L. The others: Wade Boggs, George Brett, Miguel Cabrera, Rod Carew, Ty Cobb, Harry Heilmann, Nap Lajoie, Joe Mauer, Tony Oliva, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. Of the 11 players listed above, all are in the Hall of Fame except active players Cabrera and Mauer, and Oliva. It’s interesting to note that the last player other than Altuve and Cabrera to win the A.L. batting title was Josh Hamilton in 2010.
- The Brewers had the day off yesterday and begin a road trip out west to take on three N.L. West opponents (Colorado, San Francisco and Los Angeles). The Brewers are 8-4 this season in games following a day off… that’s the good news. As the road team against N.L. West opponents, the Brew Crew is 4-3 this season. In the past two seasons the Brewers were 5-11 in 2016 and 6-10 in 2015 as visitors versus N.L. West teams… the not-so-good news for this upcoming road trip.
A lot has been noted this season about the Brewers scoring a lot of runs in the first inning (it happened again on Sunday when they tallied three runs in the first inning). Let’s take a look a few individual stats for Brewers players in the first inning.
A look at the Brewers players stats in the first inning shows that Robin Yount has the team record for most career first-inning hits (578), Ryan Braun holds the team mark for most career first-inning home runs (69) and RBIs (211) and Paul Molitor holds the team record for most first-inning stolen bases (119).
I was a little surprised, however, when I discovered that a current player (not Ryan Braun) holds the team-best batting average in the first inning. For all Milwaukee players who have at least 100 plate appearances in the first inning, right-fielder Domingo Santana has the best first-inning batting average at .368 (I guess Counsell needs to make sure that Santana is batting either 1-2 or 3 in the Brewers batting order).
Here are the six Brewers players who have a .320 or better first-inning career batting average with the club (again, minimum of 100 plate appearances in the first inning to qualify for the list).
Domingo Santana .368
Bill Spiers .358
Jeff Cirillo .333
Dave Nilsson .325
Sixton Lezcano .320
Scooter Gennett .320
With all due respect to the great Hank Aaron, the worst career first-inning batting average for the Brewers (minimum of 100 plate appearances in the first inning) is Aaron’s .184.