Milwaukee Brewers: 11-8 (3rd in AL East)
Kansas City Royals: 12-9 (2nd in AL West)
At 11-8, the Brewers are an above average team that has compiled its record against teams that have a combined 44-62 (.415) record. Of the five teams they’ve faced (Chicago, Cleveland, Minnesota, Texas and Toronto) only Chicago (.571) has a winning percentage over .410. But the Brewers only played the White Sox twice and split the series.
So what do we know about a team that has played 17 of their 19 games against bad teams? Not much. They can win more than they lose when they play them. That’s good.
But it’s easy to be disappointed in the start. The schedule was lined up for the Brewers to have a lead in first place in the AL East prior to taking on a wicked schedule against AL West teams during the month of May. The Brewers could have used some cushion.
The Royals are not the Minnesota Twins. They’re not the Chicago White Sox, for that matter. This is a new challenge. How they perform in this series will help us get a peek at whether the Brewers are a legit contender or a paper champion that has benefitted from a weak April schedule.
At 12-9, the Royals’ record isn’t much different than the Brewers’. Technically, it’s worse. But while the Brewers have been playing cream puffs, the Royals have been facing off agains the Tigers (14-9) for six games and Red Sox (15-7) for a couple more.
Luckily for the Brewers, the Royals are not at full strength. Willie Wilson (hamstring), Willie Aikens (hand), U.L. Washington (back), Lee May (groin) and Vida Blue (shoulder) are all hurt (though Blue is expected to be ready for tomorrow’s game). Even centerfielder Amos Otis has a hamstring issue and is questionable for the opener.
So the Brewers are getting Kansas City at the right time (though they’ll face off again for three games in Kansas City in exactly one week). The Crew is also on something of a roll, winning two in a row and eight of 10. George Brett and what’s left of the Royals will do all they can to stop them.