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Brewers are Baseball’s Biggest Surprise

bThe Major League Baseball season is just two weeks old and the biggest storyline thus far in those two weeks is the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers sit at 10-2 and are winners of 9 straight. Milwaukee has two wins better than any other club does in baseball over the first dozen games.

Milwaukee’s success thus far can be surprisingly attributed to pitching. The pitching staff has given up just 29 runs over 12 games, the fewest in the league. This past weekend, the Brewers swept Pittsburgh 4-2, 3-2 and 4-1.

In the Sunday win, Kyle Lohse pitched a strong dominating 8 2/3 innings. Lohse was on his way to a complete game, but was taken out after allowing a single to Andrew McCutchen in the ninth.

It is difficult to figure out the Brewers. The club has the fourth fewest walks in the majors at 25. This means the team loves to swing the bat, which could be exploited by teams as the season wears on.

The pitching staff boosts an ERA of 1.80, with the majors’ fourth best strikeout percentage and is tied for the sixth lowest walk percentage.

What is still yet to be determined is if the pitching staff will be on the majors’ best and only time will determine that.

A winning streak of nine games this early will not tell us much, but last season the Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves both recorded winning streaks of nine games in April. The two teams also went on to win their respective division titles as well.

However, Milwaukee also ran off nine straight wins last April as well. Of course, prior to the streak the club was 2-8. However, in May they were 6-22 after April’s 14-11.

Over the past 18 seasons, 15 teams have gone on nine-game winning streaks during April. Nine of those 15 went on to make the playoffs. A hot start does not guarantee a postseason berth but percentage wise it is not all that bad at 60%.

The Brewers play in what is arguably the toughest division in baseball, the National League Central. Last season the division was a three-way sprint to the finish between St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. This season, the Brewers look to make a four-way race.

In addition to Milwaukee’s fine play, the Atlanta Braves have looked impressive of late. The Braves swept the Washington Nationals over the weekend.

Justin Upton has 11 hits in 14 at bats over his last four games including 4 homers, 2 doubles and 8 runs batted in.

This season, Washington thus far has won six straight over the New York Mets and 5 of 6 over the Miami Marlins, but just 1 of 6 against the Atlanta Braves.

Atlanta has the best hitter in baseball over the first two weeks of the season. Freddie Freeman has a .442 batting average. He has 4 homers and in 52 appearances at the plate, he has struck out just four times. That equates to a 7.7% strikeout rate. Last season his strikeout rate was 19.2%.

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