Don't believe the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal's sports section, dominated as it is by football news these days. The Brewers, not the Packers or Badgers, are the best and most important sports story in the state this month. The Crew are 11-2 in August, have won 18 of their last 20 games and sit seven games ahead of St. Louis in the National League Central standings with six weeks left to play.
Just this week, they pulled out an extra-innings victory on Sunday thanks to Nyjer Morgan hustling to first on a dropped third strike. And the team executed the first triple play of the season in the National League on Tuesday night. While everybody loves Prince and Braunie, what's perhaps most fun about following a baseball squad in contention late in August is seeing which of the non-marquee guys will sparkle on a particular night.
Since the All-Star break, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt is hitting .358, compared to .237 before the break. Even more stark is his on-base percentage plus slugging (OPS) number: .913, compared to .597. Left-handed pitcher Randy Wolf, the fourth starter in a five-man rotation, has given up just one run in his past two starts, each of which went eight innings.
And Morgan has forced a lot of fans to forget about 2010, when he was best known for brawling with opponents and cursing out fans. He's hitting .312 - well ahead of his career .289 - but he's also beating out infield singles. Morgan's keeping things loose with his Tony Plush alter ego. And he's a lot more fun to watch than preseason football.