The Brewers have been terrible year after year, but 2005 saw this new-look team climb to a .500 record, playing well in a beautiful ball park. It was their first non-losing season since 1992, and the Club rewarded manager Ned Yost with a contract extension through 2008. Although their 2006 campaign looks promising, this is a team that you should feel out in the early going to make sure the 2005 Brew Crew were not one-hit wonders.
Why the improvement last season? All signs point to increased run production through manufacturing runs, instead of relying on the long ball as so many other teams in the league do. They also took care of business on their home field posting a 46-35 record, which is essential to becoming a prominent player in any division, especially one as loaded as the NL Central. Last season's Brewers averaged .
6 runs more per game than they did in 2004 at 4.5 runs per game and they boosted that mark to 4.65 runs per game at Miller Park. The Brewers will need increased production on the road this season to give them any chance at making a Wild Card run. The Brewers finished third in the toughest National League division which sent St.
Louis and Houston to the playoffs and Houston to the World Series. I expect the Cubs to scoot past them this season with a healthy right hand-dominant pitching staff, which should give them problems in head-to-heads. Houston could slide this season because of a lack of bats.
I expect the Brewers to finish in third or fourth, but their record should improve by several games. Expect the 2006 Brewers to thrive at home once again, especially when facing left-handers. Milwaukee's balanced, disciplined lineup, won 15 of 23 games vs.
south paw's at home while scoring nearly 5 runs per game. They were able to score even more runs against lefties on the road, averaging 5.13 runs per game, but they only won 11 of 23 games due to poor pitching away from Miller Park. You should be able to cash in on the Brew Crew against lefties in 2006.
If you pick your spots, overs against lefties should be a solid play as well. .
By: Jimmy Boyd