2007 Preview: Milwaukee Brewers
In 2006, the Milwaukee Brewers hit 74 opposing batters (including Craig Biggio), which tied them for third place in the majors in that category. But the Brewers are a team on the rise, and in 2007, I'm sure their fans expect to do better. Maybe some of them expect that improvement to come in the area of "wins", but surely no one in Milwaukee could be disappointed if the team led the league in plunks in 2007.
Ben Sheets was the only Brewer to plunk Biggio last year, but it was Dave Bush who led the team in hitting batters, with 18. Bush finished just one plunk short of Dontrelle Willis' major league leading 19. They also have Chris Capuano hanging around, waiting to throw baseballs at people - he hit 9 batters last year and plunked Biggio in 2004. Matt Wise is the only other pitcher still in Milwaukee who plunked Biggio while with the Brewers, but Jeff Suppan has also joined the team, after hitting 6 batters last year and winning a world series with St. Louis, and hitting Biggio with a pitch in 2003 for Pittsburgh.
The Brewers face the Astros 18 times this season, but 6 of those games are in April and 9 are in August and September. That means their best chance to throw Biggio's 288th plunk or give up his 3000th hit will be a three game series June 25th-27th. Biggio didn't get hit in June last year, but that's been his second best month for plunk accumulation throughout his career. Last season, Biggio collected his 70th hit of the season on June 18th last year, but in 2005 his 70th hit came on June 25th (He's at 2930 now, if your just joining us). He's also crossed the 70 hit mark on June 26th in two different seasons - 2000 and 1990.
The Brewers threw 66% of their 2006 plunks in the first 5 innings, and Dave Bush threw 6 of the 9 HBPs that opposing batters recorded during the 2nd inning of games. The full list of batters hit by the Brewers is as follows: Bobby Abreu, Moises Alou, Pedro Astacio, Brad Ausmus, Michael Barrett, Jason Bartlett, Jose Bautista, Craig Biggio, Joe Borchard, Emil Brown, Jeromy Burnitz, Eric Byrnes, Miguel Cabrera, Ronny Cedeno, Chris Coste, Craig Counsell (twice), Carlos Delgado, Ryan Doumit, Chris Duffy, Adam Dunn (twice), Damion Easley, David Eckstein (twice), Edwin Encarnacion, Juan Encarnacion, Sal Fasano, Lew Ford (three times), Ryan Freel (twice), Adrian Gonzalez, Khalil Greene, Aaron Harang, Todd Helton, Matt Holliday (twice), Torii Hunter, Austin Kearns (twice), Jason LaRue (twice), Yadier Molina, Matt Murton (twice), Ronny Paulino, Juan Pierre (twice), Placido Polanco, Nick Punto, Aramis Ramirez (twice), Hanley Ramirez, Aaron Rowand, Freddy Sanchez (twice), Luke Scott, Chris Shelton, Chris Snyder, Alfonso Soriano, Willy Taveras (twice), Yorvit Torrealba, Dan Uggla, Shane Victorino, Jose Vidro, Omar Vizquel, Josh Willingham, Jack Wilson (twice), Preston Wilson and Randy Winn.
I'm sure you noticed from reading that list, that the Brewers plunked the Minnesota Twins 6 times. That's more times than any other National League team plunked a single American League team in 2006.