March/April 15-12, May 13-16, June 16-10, July 16-11, August 20-7, September 10-16.
1. The Brewers appeared to hit bottom on May 19. They had been swept in Boston, called out by left fielder Ryan Braun for "not expecting to win" and had an off-day in Pittsburgh amid rumors that Yost was to be dismissed. Somehow, they responded by rattling off 12 wins in their next 16 games.
2. On July 7, the Brewers completed the biggest trade in franchise history, sending top prospect Matt LaPorta and three others to Cleveland for reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Sabathia, who would rattle off nine straight wins to start his Brewers career. "We're going for it," general manager Doug Melvin said.
3. On Sept. 15, the Brewers shocked baseball by unloading Yost with only 12 games left in the regular season, the Brewers one win away from their best season in 16 years and tied for the NL Wild Card lead. They had just been swept in Philadelphia and were off to a 3-11 start to September. Yost had no answers for the team's sudden swoon, so he was replaced by Sveum.
The Brewers lost four of their first five games under Sveum and were on the verge of being swept in Cincinnati when they busted out for an 8-1 win over the Reds on a three-RBI day for Prince Fielder. That win propelled the team into its winning homestand and into the postseason.
Avg.: .285, Ryan Braun
HRs: 37, Braun
RBIs: 106, Braun
Runs: 92, Braun
OPS: .888, Braun
SB: Corey Hart, 23
Sveum has tried to spark things by playing small ball, most notably calling for the first hit-and-run of Braun's life in that key Sept. 21 win in Cincy (Braun singled). But this is essentially an all-or-nothing offense built on home run hitters with a tendency to strike out. The offense crumbled when Braun, right fielder Corey Hart and center fielder Mike Cameron all went cold to start September, and the Brewers cannot only count on Fielder if they want to make waves in the postseason.
Wins: 13, Ben Sheets
ERA (starter): 1.65, CC Sabathia
ERA (reliever): 2.81, Brian Shouse
Strikeouts: 158, Sheets
Saves: 28, Salomon Torres
Holds: 15, Shouse
HRs allowed: 30, Jeff Suppan
Opponents BA: .227, Sabathia
Starting pitching was the Brewers' strong point during their fabulous start to the second half, to the point that Yost struggled mightily to find innings for certain relievers. But somehow that group was infected by the team-wide September slump. Sabathia lost two September decisions after his 9-0 start. Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush combined to go 9-0 in August, but were winless entering September's final week. And the team was dealt a big blow when Ben Sheets went down with a right elbow injury.
The Brewers are excellent up the middle with catcher Jason Kendall, shortstop J.J. Hardy and center fielder Cameron, though second baseman Rickie Weeks remains a liability. Cameron, though, is probably the best defensive center fielder in franchise history, and easily the best the Brewers have had since Marquis Grissom departed after 2000.
BREWERS VS. PHILLIES
Game by game
April 23: Brewers 5, Phillies 4
April 24: Phillies 3, Brewers 1
Sept. 11: Phillies 6, Brewers 3
Sept. 13: Phillies 7, Brewers 3
Sept 14 (Game 1): Phillies 7, Brewers 3
Sept. 14 (Game 2): Phillies 6, Brewers 1
BREWERS VS. POSTSEASON TEAMS
vs. Red Sox:
vs. White Sox:
Not much to feel particularly good about here. Since the All-Star break, the Brewers are 3-12 against these teams.