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Contender or Pretender?
Why They're Contenders
Before the season started, I pointed to the Milwaukee Brewers as a potential dark horse that had an outside chance at contending. Suffice to say, I did not expect them to have the best record in baseball at the end of April.
Their bullpen has been lights out, led by the foursome of Francisco Rodriguez (13-of-13 SV, 0.00 ERA), Tyler Thornburg (14.2 IP, 0.61 ERA), Will Smith (11.1 IP, 0.79 ERA) and Zach Duke (13.1 IP, 1.35 ERA), and much like the Pittsburgh Pirates, it's a strength that could carry them far.
The starting rotation has also been terrific, as four of the five starters have an ERA less than 3.00, with the lone outlier being newcomer Matt Garza (1-3, 5.00 ERA). If he can get on track, this has a chance to be one of the best rotations in all of baseball from No. 1 to No. 5.
The offense may not be as good as the group that led the NL in scoring in 2012, but the Brewers are much better than they were last year. If Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez can avoid missing significant time, they should be able to score more than enough to back their pitching.
The season is still young, and it's hard to put too much stock in one month of baseball, but I'm sold on the Brewers being serious contenders this season, especially with the Pirates and Reds scuffling early.
*The records and winning percentage included reflect their record at the end of April. All stats courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.
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