(A weekly look at several sports stats you may not know)
- On June 29, four Brewers pitchers (Brandon Woodruff, David Phelps, Devin Williams and Josh Hader) combined on a one-hit shutout in the team’s 3-0 win over the Pirates. It was the first one-hit shutout by the Brew Crew pitching staff since May 7, 2011 when Yovani Gallardo and John Axford combined on a one-hit shutout of the Cardinals in a Brewers’ 4-0 victory. The last one-hit, complete game shutout by one pitcher for the Brewers was August 31, 2008 when CC Sabathia did it against the Pirates in a 7-0 Brewers win.
- In that same June 29th game, the Brewers pitching staff had 14 strikeouts. It was the 92nd game in team history where the pitching staff had 14 or more strikeouts. The Brewers are 62-30 in those games.
- Through the first six games of the 2020 season, Christian Yelich was one-for-27, a .037 batting average. In his previous two seasons in Milwaukee, Yelich was 9-for-22 (in 2019) and 10-for-26 (in 2018) in his first six games of those two seasons, a combined average of .396. In his career prior to this season, Yelich was 51-for-170 in the first six games of a season, a .300 average.
- From 2010-19, the New England Patriots were 24-0 in games where one of their players amassed 100 or more yards rushing, the only undefeated team in that timeframe. The league as a whole was 761-284-7 (a .727 winning percentage) when teams had one player gain at least 100 yards rushing in a contest. The Packers were 20-5-1 (.788) from 2010-19 in games where they had a running back gain 100 or more yards in a game.
- Former MLB manager John McNamara died on July 28, 2020 at the age of 88. He was the skipper for six different MLB teams in his career (Oakland, San Diego, Cincinnati, California, Boston and Cleveland) and won 1160 games in his managerial career. He is one of 64 managers in league history to win 1,000 or more games as a manager. He managed in one World Series… with the Boston Red Sox in 1986.
- On one baseball broadcast I watched, there was discussion about how many home runs would lead the majors in the game-shortened season (60 games). The announcers opined that they thought 20 might lead the league this year. For the record, the most home runs in the first 60 games of a season is 32 by Barry Bonds in 2001. He is followed by Mark McGwire with 28 in the first 60 games of the 1998 seasons; Mickey Mantle with 27 HRs in the first 60 games of the 1956 campaign; and Babe Ruth with 27 long balls in the first 60 games of the 1928 season. The most home runs by a Brewers player in the first 60 games of a season happened last year when Christian Yelich had 22 in the first 60 games. Prince Fielder held the record with 21 HRs after the first 60 games of the 2007 season. Carlos Lee (2006) and Richie Sexson (2003) each hit 19 homers in the first 60 games of a season with the Brewers.
- Prior to the start of the eight-game bubble season for the NBA, the Bucks had two players averaging over 20 points per game for the 2019-20 season: Giannis at 29.6 and Khris Middleton at 21.1. If they both finish the season over 20 points per game, it would be the third time in four years that the Bucks had two players average 20.0-plus points per game in a season. In 2017-18, Giannis and Middleton averaged 26.9 and 20.1 respectively; in 2016-17, Jabari Parker averaged 20.1 and Giannis averaged 22.9 per game. In three straight years starting with the 1999-2000 season, Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson each averaged over 20 points per game in a season for the Bucks, the only time in team history that the same two players averaged 20 or more points per game in three consecutive seasons.
- Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones tied with Christian McCaffrey for the most TDs in the NFL last season with 19. Jones was 12th in the league with 1,084 rushing yards. Tennessee’s Derrick Henry led the league in rushing with 1,540 yards. The Packers have had a player lead the league in rushing only once in team history: Jim Taylor led the NFL in rushing in 1962 with 1,474 yards.
- The shortened MLB season will likely prevent a few players from reaching important milestones in their careers. The Cubs’ Jon Lester started the season with 190 career wins and appeared a sure bet to reach 200 this season; he had won at least 10 games in 11 of his 15 seasons. Now reaching 200 this year could be a tough road for him. On the batters’ side, Yadier Molina and Ryan Braun were two players who looked like they would pass the 2,000-hit mark this season. Molina started the year with 1,963 career hits; Braun had 1,933.
- Speaking of 2,000 hits, Ian Kinsler, who played for the San Diego Padres last season, announced his retirement in December, 2019. Kinsler had 1,999 career hits in a 14-year career and it looks like he will end his career one hit short of 2,000. One other MLB player ended his career with 1,999 hits: Jimmy Collins, who played from 1895-1908.
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How will the new Brewers players’ debuts match up with other Brew Crew debuts?
When (or if) the 2020 Major League Baseball season begins, the Brewers will have several new players who have never suited up in a Brewers uniform who will likely play important roles for the club. Players like outfielder Avisail Garcia, catcher Omar Narvaez, infielders Justin Smoak and Luis Urias, and pitchers Brett Anderson, Eric Lauer and Josh Lindblom will be making their debut with the Brewers in 2020 (hopefully).
The question: When they do make their debuts, will they start with a bang or a whimper? When compared to other Brewers, will any of these new players have a Brew Crew debut like Carlos Gomez? After coming to the Brewers in a trade with the Twins, Gomez made his Brewers debut on April 5, 2010 with four hits in five at-bats, a solo HR and a stolen base.
Or will any of the pitchers have a debut like Yovani Gallardo? Making his MLB and Brewers debut on June 18, 2007, Gallardo was the starting pitcher and winner in the Brewers 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants. Gallardo went 6.1 innings and allowed only four hits and struck out four in the victory.
Let’s take a look at some of the Brewers debuts for some of the club’s top players over the years. Baseball-Reference.com on the Brewers’ team page lists the team’s Top 24 players in franchise history based on each players’ WAR rating (WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement). The stat gives a number to each players’ overall contribution to the team. Robin Yount tops the Brewers franchise with a 77.3 WAR, followed by Paul Molitor (60.0) and Ryan Braun is third (46.8).
Here is a snapshot of the top 24 Brewers player’s debut with the team.
Robin Yount, April 5, 1974: 0-for-1, walk
Paul Molitor, April 7, 1978: 1-for-5, one RBI
Ryan Braun, May 25, 2007: 1-for-4, two RBIs
Cecil Cooper, April 7, 1977: 1-for-4
Teddy Higuera, April 23, 1985: 5.1 IP, seven hits, 4 ER, five strikeouts (no decision-starting pitcher)
Don Money, April 6, 1973: 0-for-3
Jeff Cirillo, May 11, 1994: 0-for-0, came in as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning, no at-bat
Ben Sheets, April 5, 2001: 6.0 IP, six hits, 5 ER, five strikeouts (starting pitcher, losing pitcher)
George Scott, April 15, 1972: 0-for-4, one RBI
Jim Gantner, September 3, 1976: 2-for-4, one run scored, one walk
Geoff Jenkins, April 24, 1998: 2-for-4, solo HR, two runs scored
Ben Oglivie, April 8, 1978: 2-for-5, two runs scored, one walk
Carlos Gomez, April 5, 2010: 4-for-5, double, solo HR, two runs scored, stolen base
Sixto Lezcano, September 10, 1974: 3-for-5, one RBI
Chris Bosio, August 3, 1986: 3.0 IP, three hits, one earned run, one strikeout (came in as a reliever, no decision)
Gorman Thomas, April 6, 1973: 1-for-3, triple
Yovani Gallardo, June 18, 2007: 6.1 IP, four hits, 3 ER, 4 strikeouts (Starting pitcher, got the win)
Bill Wegman, September 14, 1985: 7.0 IP, five hits, two earned runs, four strikeouts (starting pitcher, no decision)
Mike Caldwell, June 19, 1977: 2 IP, no hits, one walk, one strikeout (came in as a reliever, no decision)
Jonathan Lucroy, May 21, 2010: 1-for-2
Prince Fielder, June 13, 2005: 0-for-4
Jeromy Burnitz, September 3, 1996: 0-for-4
Moose Haas, September 8, 1976: 3 IP, three hits, one earned run, two strikeouts (came in as a reliever, no decision)
Corey Hart, May 25, 2004: 0-for-1, strikeout
In addition to the above 24 players, the Brewers have five more players who played with the team who are members of baseball’s Hall of Fame (in addition to Yount and Molitor): Rollie Fingers, Hank Aaron, Ted Simmons, Trevor Hoffman and Don Sutton. Their Brewers debuts went as follows:
Rollie Fingers, April 11, 1981: 1.2 IP, two hits, no earned runs, one strikeout, one walk (came in as a reliever, got the save)
Hank Aaron, April 8, 1975: 0-for-3, walk
Ted Simmons, April 11, 1981: 0-for-4, one run scored, one strikeout
Trevor Hoffman, April 27, 2009: one inning pitched, no hits, no earned runs (came in as a reliever, no decision)
Don Sutton, 9 IP, complete game, eight hits allowed, four earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts (starting pitcher, got the loss)
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Ryan Braun was the Brewers #1 player in the 2010s… who do you have at #2?
If we go based on the numbers, there should not be much discussion about who was the Brewers top player last decade, 2010-19. The obvious answer is Ryan Braun.
Throughout the 2010s, Braun led the Brewers in almost every batting statistic. But after Braun, who would you pick as the second best player for the Brewers last decade. In my mind, and based on strictly the numbers, there are probably three candidates for the Number Two spot.
Some of you might pick Christian Yelich as the top player for the Brewers in the last 10 years. There’s no doubt that what he has accomplished with the Brew Crew over the last two seasons in Milwaukee is remarkable. But we’re taking about the total of 10 years, 2010-19. While Yelich has an MVP and a runner-up honor for that same award in two seasons, he does not have the numbers totals to make a dent in the Brewers players with the highest offensive stats over the past 10 years.
Let’s start with offensive totals. Here’s a look at the two players who topped the Brewers in several offensive categories from 2010-19.
Most at-bats: Braun, 4796… Jonathan Lucroy, 2838
Most runs: Braun, 770… Carlos Gomez, 364
Most hits: Braun, 1410… Lucroy, 806
Most doubles: Braun, 297… Lucroy, 157
Most triples: Braun, 29… Gomez, 25
Most home runs: Braun, 241… Rickie Weeks, 88 (how many of you thought Weeks had the second most homers for the Brewers from 2010-19?)
Most runs batted in: Braun, 811… Lucroy, 387
Most stolen bases: Braun, 166… Gomez, 152
Highest batting average (min. 300 games played): Braun, .294… Nori Aoki, .287
Highest on-base percentage (min. 300 games played): Prince Fielder, .408… Braun, .359
Highest slugging percentage (min. 300 games played): Braun, .519… Fielder, .518
I would put either Lucroy or Gomez as candidates for the second best player for the Brewers last decade behind Braun of the everyday players.
Now let’s look at the pitching stats for 2010-19.
Most games pitched: Jeremy Jeffress, 301… Francisco Rodriguez, 263
Most complete games: Kyle Lohse, 4… Yovani Gallardo, 3
Most wins: Gallardo, 67… Wily Peralta, 47
Most saves: John Axford, 105… Rodriguez, 95
Most innings pitched: Gallardo, 969.1… W. Peralta, 704.2
Most strikeouts: Gallardo, 901… Jimmy Nelson, 578
ERA (minimum 200 innings pitched: Josh Hader, 2.42… Jeffress, 2.66
My third candidate for the #2 spot would be Gallardo. Much like Yelich, you could make a case for a pitcher like Josh Hader, but his numbers are limited to only three seasons in Milwaukee last decade.
So who would you choose as the second-best player for the Brewers last decade?
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Brewers players with most HRs in a season versus National League foes
Christian Yelich last season had eight home runs (in 16 games) versus the St.Louis Cardinals. That broke a more-than-a-decade old record held by Ryan Braun who slugged seven homers against the Cards in the 2008 season.
What’s interesting about this stat is that Yelich, due to injury that sidelined him from September 10 to the end of the season, actually missed three games against the Cardinals in the final month and may have added to his record-setting number of eight.
Yelich’s eight HRs against the Cardinals in 2019 is tied for second-most in Brewers team history in a season against one team. Former first baseman Eric Thames, now a member of the World Champion Washington Nationals, holds the team record with 10 home runs in 2017 against the Cincinnati Reds. Yelich’s eight homers against the Cards in 2019 ties him with Prince Fielder who had eight home runs against the Pirates in 2010.
Here is a look at the Brewers players who have the most HRs in a season versus each of the other 14 teams in the National League.
Braves: Richie Sexson, 5, 2003
Cardinals: Christian Yelich, 8, 2019
Cubs: Richie Sexson (2002 and 2003), Jeromy Burnitz (2006) and Ryan Braun (2016)… 6 each
Diamondbacks: Jeromy Burnitz, 5, 2001
Dodgers: Geoff Jenkins, 5, 2000
Giants: Richie Sexson, 4, 2003
Marlins: Prince Fielder (2009, 2010, 2011), Mike Moustakas (2019)… 4 each
Mets: Carlos Lee (2005), Corey Hart (2010), Prince Fielder (2011)… 4 each
Nationals: Geoff Jenkins, 5, 2001
Padres: Geoff Jenkins (2003), Ryan Braun (2012)… 4 each
Phillies: Ryan Braun, 6, 2012
Pirates: Prince Fielder, 8, 2010
Reds: Eric Thames, 10, 2017
Rockies: Travis Shaw, 4, 2018
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Ryan Braun looking for his 10th 20-HR season
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is the franchise leader with 340 career home runs. This season, through games of August 21, Braun has hit 18 home runs.
Braun needs two more HRs this season for his 10th 20-HR season in his career. If he reaches 20 homers this season, he will become the 98th player in MLB history to have 10 seasons with 20 or more home runs. (For what it is worth, 37 of the 97 players in baseball history who have hit 20 or more home runs in 10 or more seasons are in the baseball Hall of Fame.)
Braun’s nine seasons with 20 or more HRs with the Brewers is the team record. Here is a look at the Brewers players with the most 20-HR seasons with the team.
5-Corey Hart, Jeromy Burnitz, Rob Deer, Gorman Thomas, Cecil Cooper
4-Greg Vaughn, Robin Yount
Hank Aaron holds the MLB record for most seasons with 20 or more home runs with 20. Following are the 17 players who have hit 20+ HRs in a season in 15 or more seasons.
17-Frank Robinson, Willie Mays
16-Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Eddie Murray, Reggie Jackson, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth
15-David Ortiz, Ken Griffey, Jr., Fred McGriff, Dave Winfield, Willie Stargell, Mel Ott.
Albert Pujols is the active leader in this category with 16 seasons with 20+ HRs. He does, however, have 19 HRs this season through games of August 21 and should jump into the Top 5 in this category with one more homer this season.
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