By JERRY TAPP
With 19 wins in May, the Brewers finished the first two months of the 2018 season with a 34-20 record, a .632 winning percentage, and a four-game lead in the National League Central.
Let’s take a look at three specific stats from the Brewers season through May 31: the 19 wins in May, the .632 winning percentage through May 31 and the four-game lead in the division.
19 wins in May: Manager Craig Counsell’s Brewers set a franchise record with 19 wins in May. Their previous high in May victories was 18 in 2009 and 18 in 1981. The Brew Crew was 19-8 in May, a .704 winning percentage, the first time in team history they were over .700 in the month of May; the previous best winning percentage in May was in 2009 when the team went 18-10 (.643).
It’s interesting to note that in the four seasons when the Brewers went to the post-season (1981, 1982, 2008 and 2011), they had a winning record in May in only two of those years: They went 18-12 in 1981, 17-12 in 2011, 13-16 in 1982 (the year they went to the World Series) and 13-16 in 2008.
The Brewers and Washington Nationals were the only teams to win 19 or more games in May, 2018 (the Nats also won 19). The MLB record for most wins in May is 24, held by the 1928 and 1939 New York Yankees.
Above .500 on May 31: Since 2000, the Brewers have been above .500 on May 31 in only eight of those 19 seasons (including 2018). In a bit of “bad” news, of the seven previous seasons since 2000 where the Brewers were above .500 on May 31, in only one of those seasons, 2011, did the team end the season with a higher winning percentage than what they had on May 31 (not that anyone is expecting the Brewers to finish the 2018 campaign with a winning percentage above .632).
In ’11, a playoff season for the club, the Brewers had a winning percentage of .545 on May 31 that year and ended the season with a .593 winning percentage. The only other year since 2000 that the Brewers had a winning percentage of .600 or better was in 2009; the team’s winning percentage on May 31, 2009 was exactly .600.
A four-game divisional lead on May 31: The Brew Crew this year had a four-game lead over the Cubs in the N.L. Central when the calendar turned to June. In the last 10 seasons (2008-17), 15 different teams have had a division lead of four games or more at the end of the day on May 31. Of those 15 teams, 11 made the playoffs that season. Three of those 15 teams since 2008 not only made the playoffs but went on to win the World Series that season (San Francisco-2014, the Cubs-2016, and Houston-2017).
In 2018, the Brewers, with a four-game lead in the N.L. Central, and the Cleveland Indians, with a 4.5 game lead in the A.L. Central, were the only two teams with a divisional lead of four games or more on the morning of June 1.
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