Andrew Gruman’s player of the month: Ryan Braun (.318, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 SB in 22 games)
While Carlos Gomez won the player of the month award given out by the team, Braun almost singlehandedly led the Brewers to three wins in April. Braun homered three times and drove in seven runs in 10-4 win in Philadelphia on April 8.
His best series of the month came in Pittsburgh, as Braun won the game for the Brewers on April 19 with a two-run home run off Pirates closer Jason Grilli in the ninth inning of Milwaukee’s 8-7 victory. Braun also homered in the seventh inning of that game to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 7-6.
One night later, Braun got Grilli again, tying the game in the ninth inning with a solo home run. The Brewers went on to win 3-2 in extra innings.
Andrew Gruman’s pitcher of the month: Francisco Rodriguez (0.00 ERA, 13 saves, 4 BB, 23 K in 16.0 IP)
Despite there being many deserving candidates with how well the Brewers pitched in March/April, this award was easy to give out. K-Rod tied a major-league record with 13 saves before May 1 and did so in dominant fashion.
With Jim Henderson going through a period of struggles, Rodriguez stepped in a closer on Opening Day and hasn’t allowed an earned run in 16 innings. He appeared in 16 of Milwaukee’s 28 games, a concerning number for down the road but a telling sign of how well he pitched in March/April.
With 19 of their 28 games against playoff teams in March/April, the Brewers faced a daunting schedule to open 2014. The thought was to play .500 baseball and just get through the month without being buried in a deep hole.
Instead, the Brewers became one of just four teams in baseball history to wake up on May 1 with 20 wins, falling just one victory shy of the all-time record for wins prior to May.
March/April was a resounding success for the Brewers. They won road series in Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis to finish 11-2 away from Miller Park, went 4-1 in extra-inning games and 6-2 in one-run games.
The pitching staff carried the Brewers over their first 28 games, as the offense has yet to produce like many feel it can. Milwaukee also had numerous injuries and other adverse situations (a brawl in Pittsburgh) to overcome along the way. This will go down as one of the best month’s in franchise history.
The Brewers will play a balanced schedule in May with 14 road games and 14 home games. Milwaukee kicks off the month with a four-game series in Cincinnati, as the Brewers 12 divisional games in May.
The New York Yankees come to Miller Park from May 9-11, as Derek Jeter plays in Milwaukee for the final time. The first rematch with the Pittsburgh Pirates since the brawl comes in Milwaukee from May 13-15, while the Brewers travel to Wrigley Field for the first time in 2014 from May 16-18. Milwaukee will face a key road series in Atlanta from May 19-21, as the Braves won a three-game series at Miller Park at the beginning of the season. To end May, the Brewers host the Baltimore Orioles for a three-game series from May 26-28.