(Editor’s Note: What follows is a summary of a completed season that was simulated on the website: www.pennantchase.com.)
By Bert Lehman
I have tried a few times in the past to guide my beloved Milwaukee Brewers to their first championship, but to no avail. With a snowy and cold February, I decided to give it another try. I also tried again because the 2018 Brewers team would provide a plethora of players I could use in my quest.
The simulated league I play in is called a Favorite Teams league. This league allows participants to pick a franchise and then choose four different years from that franchise’s history to draft players from to assemble the team. Franchises that have long and storied histories are allowed only three different years to draft players from.
The years for the Brewers teams I chose included: 1982, 1992, 2011, and 2018.
I chose the 1982 team because I was able to assemble most of my infield starters with players from this team. I started Paul Molitor at third base, Robin Yount at shortstop, Cecil Cooper at first base, and Ted Simmons at catcher. At the start of the season I started Jim Gantner in a platoon at second base.
Needless to say, the 1982 team was not known for it’s pitching, so Rollie Fingers was the only pitcher added to my squad.
I chose the 1992 team because of one player – Cal Eldred. Eldred had an unbelievable rookie season in 1992, and I’ve learned pitching rules in these simulation leagues.
The 1992 season was also the year shortstop Pat Listach won the American League Rookie of the Year, so I added him to my team to be used mainly as a pinch runner. Relief pitchers Mike Fetters, Doug Henry and Dan Plesac also put up good stats that year, so they were added to my bullpen mix. Starting pitchers Bill Wegman and Chris Bosio were also added to my team, which also included players for a minor league system I could dip into during the season.
Looking for more punch for my lineup and more starting pitchers I chose 2011. Ryan Braun was added to my team as the starting left fielder, while Prince Fielder was added to be the DH. Second baseman Rickie Weeks and catcher Jonathan Lucroy made my team, with both of them starting the season in a platoon at their respective positions. I also put Nyjer Morgan on the team for pitch running and a reserve outfielder.
Zack Grienke moved into my starting lineup, while starting pitcher Shaun Marcum was added to the starting rotation mix, as was as Yovani Gallardo. John Axford was the only relief pitcher to make the cut.
The 2018 Brewers added to the team proved to be the difference makers. Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain rounded out the starting outfield. Third baseman Travis Shaw also made the squad as a reserve, but eventually moved into the starting lineup at second base since he also qualified to play that position.
The majority of my relief corps came from the 2018 Brewers – Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, Jeremy Jeffress and Corbin Burnes. Jhoulys Chacin moved into my starting rotation.
The league was split into three divisions. Teams represented in one division were the Indians, Phillies, Pirates and Angels. Another division was comprised of the Cubs, Red Sox, Phillies and A’s. Included in my division with the Brewers were the Cardinals, Phillies and Yankees.
My Brewers team won its division, but they were lucky to be in that division since four other teams in the league had better records than the Brewers. One of those teams didn’t make the playoffs.
Once in the playoffs, though, the Brewers still had a chance at the World Series title.
First Round of Playoffs
Facing the Indians in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs, Cleveland sent Luis Tiant to the mound, while the Brewers sent its ace, Cal Eldred to the mound. The Indians won 8-2.
Jhoulys Chacin took the mound in Game 2 and pitched well, but was on the wrong side of a 1-0 defeat. This put the Brewers down two games in the series as they headed to Miller Park for three games.
At home, the Brewers ground out a 4-3 win in Game 3 with Josh Hader getting the win in relief.
The Brewers tied the series at 2-2 with a 6-2 win in Game 4. Zack Grienke got the win, with Hader earning the save.
The roll continued in Game 5 as Eldred outdueled Tiant this time, as the Brewers won 4-2. Jeremy Jeffress recorded the save.
The two teams headed back to Cleveland with the Brewers needing to win one of the final two games to punch their ticket to the World Series. In a hard-fought game, the Brewers prevailed and celebrated a 4-3 win, taking the series 4-2. Mike Fetters recorded the win, with Jeffress recording another save.
In the World Series, the Brewers faced a Phillies team that won a total of 122 games between the regular season and postseason. This Phillies team had also defeated the Brewers 13 times in 15 games during the regular season.
Game 1 saw the Brewers continue to roll, as they claimed a 6-4 victory. Dan Plesac got the win, with Jeffress recording the save.
The Brewers were shutout in Game 2, as Cole Hamels outdueled Eldred, 2-0.
Back in Milwaukee, the Brewers won Game 3 by a score of 4-1. Yovani Gallardo got the win, and you guessed it, Jeffress got the save. Cliff Lee took the loss.
The Phillies fought back in Game 4, crushing the Brewers 15-2. Grienke took the loss.
The back and forth series moved back into the Brewers favor as they won Game 5 by a score of 6-4. Reliever Corbin Burnes got the win, while Jeffress saved another game.
Hamels once again outdueled Eldred in Game 6, with the Phillies winning, 6-3.
The pivotal and deciding Game 7 saw a rematch of Gallardo and Lee on the mound. The Brewers offense gave Gallardo plenty of runs to work with, and the Brewers hung on for a 9-6 win. Gallardo got the win, his second in the World Series. Jeffress once again shut the door, earning his fourth save in the World Series.
In addition to Gallardo winning two games in the World Series, he also threw a no-hitter during the regular season against a Yankees team.