5 Biggest Surprises For Milwaukee Brewers Through First Half of Season

5 Biggest Surprises For Milwaukee Brewers In First Half of Season

Brewers Celebrate Win
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

After a poor 2013 season in which they went 74-88 last season, the Milwaukee Brewers have bounced back in a strong way in the first half of 2014. The Brew Crew currently sits atop a loaded NL Central with a 52-39 record thanks to an improved pitching staff and offense that is performing again. Here are five of the biggest surprises from the first half of their season.

5. 2013 Was No Fluke For Carlos Gomez

Carlos Gomez Brewers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

5. 2013 Was No Fluke For Carlos Gomez

Carlos Gomez Brewers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Gomez broke out in a big way in 2013, and to the surprise of many he has continued to get even better in 2014. At the plate, he has continued to grow as he is on pace for career-highs in walks and batting average. He produces no matter where he is put in the lineup, a luxury for Ron Roenicke as it gives the lineup some flexibility when injuries occur or a player needs a day off. He also plays Gold-Glove-caliber defense, which never hurts.

4. Jonathan Lucroy Best Catcher In Baseball?

Jonathan Lucroy Brewers
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jonathan Lucroy Best Catcher In Baseball?

Jonathan Lucroy Brewers
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

When you have a catcher that performs offensively, it is a huge edge for an MLB team. The Brewers may have the biggest edge in that department this season, as Lucroy has been a monster at the plate. He is seventh in baseball with a .327 BA, and has performed consistently in the middle of the Brewers order. He calls a good game behind the plate as well, giving the Brewers as complete a catcher as there is in the game right now.

3. Starting Rotation Improvement

Matt Garza Brewers
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3. Starting Rotation Improvement

Matt Garza Brewers
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Last season a weakness for the Brewers was their starting rotation. They combined for an ERA of 4.20 last season to 3.84 thus far this season. The signing of Matt Garza has helped stabilize the rotation, as Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse have also pitched well. The growth of Wily Peralta has helped as well, as the Brewers have used the same five-man rotation all season. To put into perspective, they had 12 different players start a game in 2013.

2. Ryan Braun PED Talk

Ryan Braun Brewers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

2. Ryan Braun PED Talk

Ryan Braun Brewers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Braun was suspended the last 65 games of 2013 for violating the MLB drug policy. That is not what the surprise of this season is though; it is actually the relative non-issue it has been. Alex Rodriguez is suspended for the season yet still finds a way to get his name into the news. Braun has quietly gone about his business and performed in the heart of the Brewers order. He leads the team with 49 RBIs, helping to get the offense back on track.

1. Francisco Rodriguez Career Resurgence

Francisco Rodriguez Brewers
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

1. Francisco Rodriguez Career Resurgence

Francisco Rodriguez Brewers1
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

K-Rod looked to be done as a closer outside of spot duty, but no one told him that. This season Rodriguez won the closer job in spring training from the struggling Jim Henderson, and never relinquished it. He is currently tied for the MLB lead with 27 saves to go along with a nice 2.38 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 43.1 innings pitched. He did not allow a run until May 11, and has been a weapon at the end of games for the Brewers.

Kenneth Teape is a New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @teapester725, “Like” on Facebook, or join his Google network

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