Milwaukee Brewers Weekly Betting Report
by Robert Ferringo - 05/10/2007
New York, New York. If you can make it there you can make it anywhere.
Uncle Frank used to espouse that logic to me between sips of single malt when I was a youngster. OK, that's not true at all but I heard it somewhere once and it stuck. But that's neither here nor there, and any fabrications I've been involved with here pale in comparison to the ones that the Milwaukee Brewers may or may not have been perpetrating on the general baseball public through the first six weeks of the season.
The Brewers currently boast the best record in Major League Baseball, are in the midst of a six-game winning streak, and have victories in 15 of their past 18 outings. Milwaukee dominated its recent 10-game home stand, which began on April 30 with a 7-1 maiming of St. Louis and ended on Wednesday with a 3-1 conquest of Washington. The Brewers outscored opponents 52-19 during that stretch and didn't yield more than four runs in any one game.
We haven't even completed the second week in May and they've already claimed a seven-game lead in the moribund National League Central. Given that the team chasing them is the Chicago Cubs, who never met a situation they didn't like to choke in, I would say Milwaukee could start setting its playoff rotation in late June.
However, while the Brewers are the top dogs in the league at the moment it wouldn't be impolite to question the validity of their start. They've essentially been beating up on a bunch of handicapped kids in the NL Central, MLB's equivalent of the Sun Belt Conference, and only two of the Brewers' 24 wins this year have come against a team that presently has a winning record. Oh, and that banner performance during their last 10 home games came against St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Washington, a trio that is a combined 23 games under .500.
This weekend's marquee series will pit the Big Shot Brewers against the Mighty Mets at Shea Stadium in New York. The Mets sit at 21-12 on the season and are coming off a seven-game West Coast swing in which they mustered five wins over Arizona and San Francisco, both of whom are above .500.
The teams have only played 18 times since 2004, with the Mets holding the slim lead in the series at 10-8. The Brewers are 5-4 in their last nine in Flushing.
It's heresy to suggest that the Brewers are better than the Mets. New York has experience and depth everywhere and a resume that includes highlights more recent than 1983. However, the Brewers are manufacturing wins and have the benefit of throwing out their top three pitchers in New York. They'll never be more confident than they are right now and I think they have the chops to pull an upset or two. Here's a breakdown of this weekend's match-up:
Game 1 - Friday, May 11, 7 p.m. (Jeff Suppan vs. Jorge Sosa)
This is a bit like having the guy who screwed your girlfriend, stole her away from you and then cheated on her with someone else's girlfriend show up at your house for a party. Suppan, who is an out-of-closet Jesus Freak, was the sole reason the Mets didn't advance to claim World Series glory last year. He scored a pair of wins in the 2006 NLCS, including a brilliant eight-inning performance in Game 7 at Shea.
His counterpart is Jorge Sosa, who was absolutely dominating Triple-A before he was called up to replace Chan Ho Park, who was replacing Orlando Hernandez. Sosa outdueled Cy Young winner Brandon Webb last Saturday in Arizona and under the tutelage of Rick Peterson could be poised to regain the form that allowed him to win 13 games for Atlanta in 2005. Sosa has an ERA of 0.95 in 19 career innings against the Brewers.
Needless to say, it's not going to be a warm reception for Jeff. But he has Jesus on his side so he'll be tough to handle on Friday night in the lion's den. It also helps that Suppan is 3-1 in his career against the Amazin's and has a sub-.200 ERA in New York.
Game 2 - Saturday, May 12, 1 p.m. (Ben Sheets vs. Mike Pelfrey)
It's going to be warm and the wind is going to be blowing out so if we see any softball scores this weekend I think this will be the game. Mike Pelfrey is not a Major League pitcher, as his 6.39 ERA can attest to, and I think the Brewers will be all over him.
As for Sheets, he's been lackluster to this point in the season. But his problem is that he stinks against divisional teams, not that he doesn't have the arsenal to be effective. It will be interesting to see how he fares against this veteran Mets lineup, given that he has a career ERA of 5.65 against New York. Depending on who is behind the plate we could have a strong 'over' play here.
Game 3 - Sunday, May 13, 1 p.m. (Chris Capuano vs. Oliver Perez)
This game will likely determine who wins the series and it's likely to be a gem. The good news for the Brewers is that they haven't lost in any of Capuano's seven starts this season. The bad news is that the Mets are hitting .345 against left-handed pitching this season.
New York will be sending out Perez, who is one moment electric and the next erratic. So far this season he's gone W-L-W-L-W-L. I suppose that mean's he's due for another win but who knows. The Brewers are no slouches.
Series Prediction: Brewers 2-1. They get their top three pitchers going against the Mets' back three. This is by no means a statement about which I think is better, it's just that the match-ups favor the Brew Crew. I also know this: if Milwaukee does manage to win this series I'm going to be all over Philadelphia early next week in a letdown spot.
2007 Record Betting On/Against Milwaukee: 9-3 (+12.44 Units).
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