Win at home and split on the road. Usually that’s a pretty good recipe for success. If a team can win 40 of it’s 81 road games and put together a solid winning percentage at home, that team will have a good shot at the post season. What happens when that team wins on the road and at home?
The Milwaukee Brewers have won 50 games at home so far this season. They’ve won 31 on the road. The Brewers could lose every game for the rest of the year and still post a respectable home record and an overall record of .500. But they won’t lose the rest of their games. My money is on winning, and a lot of it.
The 1961 Yankees won 65 games at home. The 1975 Reds won 64. For the Brewers to reach the Yankees mark, they’d have to win every remaining home game. They can lose one and still match the Reds’ National League record. Neither feat is likely, but the Brewers will win more home games. If they maintain their season-long pace, they should win 11 more games.
Yesterday, I explored why the Brewers were so far ahead in terms of wins and losses. Today I’ll take a look at performance.
Let’s start with WAR. Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun combine for 10.2 WAR. Only the Cardinals have more players ranked in the top-15 in WAR rankings. Fielder has the third highest OBP among N.L. first basemen. Braun has stolen 30 bases in 34 attempts. Most sabermetricians will tell you stolen bases are worthless unless you succeed 70% of the time. Braun succeeds 88% of the time.
As a team they don’t strike out much and they walk a lot. They pitch well, posting a respectable 15.5 WAR in pitching alone. Brewers pitchers are stranding 72.3% of base runners.
But even with their impressive numbers, the Brewers don’t lead any one category in pitching or hitting. They seem to use what they have (which is not bad by any stretch) better than other teams. Maybe they get a little lucky in the process too. Their Pythagorean record is just 74-61 after all. But sometimes a little luck sprinkled in with skill leads to championships.
As the Brewers continue to put space between themselves and the rest of the division, they also continue to gain ground on the Phillies for the best record in the National League.
Most of my predictions this season have gone horribly wrong, but this one has been so very right.