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Most fans see playoffs in Brewers' future

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Todd Mishler | April 3, 2014

Over 2.53 million fans, or more than 31,000 per game, attended Brewers games at Miller Park last year despite the team's lowest divisional finish since 2006.
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A rash of injuries and a terrible start derailed any realistic shot at the postseason by June, and Ryan Braun's 65-game suspension to end the year was the proverbial nail in the team's coffin.

Braun is back, the law of averages should mean fewer guys on the disabled list and another 6-22 run in May -- the franchise's worst month of futility since the 1969 Seattle Pilots -- would appear unlikely, which should push more people through the turnstiles again this year.

Better pitching and significant contributions from several farmhands after the All-Star break in 2013 and the signing of free agent pitcher Matt Garza have many fans in the Stateline area guardedly optimistic about a turnaround, although they have reservations.

That journey starts when the Atlanta Braves come to town for Opening Day on Monday as Milwaukee tries to earn its fifth winning season in eight years and be a factor down the stretch despite three National League playoff teams residing in the Central Division.

“The Brewers should compete for a wildcard spot,” said Val Crofts, a longtime fan from Janesville. “Much better pitching, a better bullpen and rotation with the addition of (Matt) Garza. (Aramis) Ramirez being healthy all year should help a lot and protect (Ryan) Braun in the three spot. Ninety wins this year, I hope. But in the spring, all is well.”

Jason Knott of Edgerton is predicting 85 to 88 wins for The Crew.

“I'm just not convinced the starting pitching is going to be as strong as some think,” Knott said. “I like (Yovani) Gallardo, Garza and (Kyle) Lohse … I'm just not sold on (Wily) Peralta, (Marco) Estrada, (Tyler) Thornburg and the rest of the back-of-the-rotation guys. I predict big offensive numbers from Braun and (Jean) Segura, and I think Rickie Weeks will rebound from his dismal year at the plate. But if Braun or Segura miss any significant time, they'll struggle to score.”

Tedi Knox of Evansville has been a fan since moving to Wisconsin in 1976.

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