Brewers Bringing The Power / Basketball’s Second Season Starts

OK, I was fairly negative last week about the Brewers’ pitching — which hasn’t really improved much — so it’s only fair that I give equal time to note a preseason prediction made by Brewer Nation that has been coming true: The Brewers are developing into a pretty potent offensive team.

After Thursday’s completion of a two-game sweep against the Pirates, the Brewers rank fourth in the National League in runs scored (68), second in the NL in hits (135), home runs (15), total bases (220), slugging percentage (.440, which is total bases divided by at bats) and third in batting average (.270). And the team stats certainly do reflect a team effort, as almost everybody is doing their part — the veterans Geoff Jenkins (.325 batting average and .386 on-base percentage) and Bill Hall (9 RBIs) have been seemingly inspired by the play of Rickie Weeks (leads the team in home runs, runs scored, and total bases) and Prince Fielder (16 hits, including five doubles). And there are signs that the offense bug may be catching on — JJ Hardy broke out of an early-season slump on Thursday to go 3-for-5 with four RBIs, while Corey Hart went 2-for-3.

Even if the Brewers’ pitching never lives up to its preseason hype — and it certainly isn’t bad right now, with closer Francisco Cordero and number two starter Chris Capuano standing out the brightest — you have to like the Brewers ability to continue to compete in the NL Central, a division that, like last year, will not have a runaway leader. But Milwaukee, here in the midst of a string of 23 straight games against NL Central opponents, could put the baseball world on notice that they are the team to beat in the Central, especially with the Cardinals (1-6 at home?) and Cubs (Carlos Zambrano, who guaranteed before the season started that he would win the Cy Young and the Cubs would win the World Series is currently boasting a less-than Cy Young worthy ERA of 7.77) currently in tatters.

If you’re like me, you only really start to focus on the NBA when the playoffs start. I mean, they last eight months just by themselves, so it’s not like you don’t get enough pro basketball by waiting until the best-of-sevens begin. And now, without Joey Crawford and without the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA playoffs are finally here.

You know what I love about the NBA playoffs? There is always something about them that doesn’t make any sense. Like the Houston Rockets/Utah Jazz series: Utah is the higher seed, but the Rockets get home-court advantage. What? Or the Dallas/Golden State series. Dallas is the highest seed (deservedly so), but their season record against the eighth-seeded Warriors is 0-3. What?

So, here’s who I like in the opening round: In the East, it will be Detroit, Cleveland, New Jersey, and the Bulls. In the West, Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Houston.

Enjoy the NBA playoffs, but remember to get outside a little bit while they’re going on. Because by the time they’re done, it’ll be autumn.


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