With 77 wins and the Major Leagues' widest division lead, the Milwaukee Brewers are hardly a one-month wonder. But they are certainly in the midst of one wonderful month.By splitting Monday's doubleheader in Pittsburgh, the Brew Crew set its August record at 17-4 and remained on track to match the third-best winning percentage for the month and the sixth best for any month in MLB history. With seven games remaining in the month, the Brewers have the potential to wrap it up at 24-4, which would equal the victories and the winning percentage posted in August by the 2002 Athletics. The only two teams to have compiled superior August records were the 1906 Cubs (26-3 and .897) and the 1936 New York Giants (24-3 and .889).
The Guns of August
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At 24-4, Ron Roenicke's club would also match the one-month records of those A's and of the 1939 Yankees (24-4 in May), currently tied for the sixth-best mark in any month of the baseball season."I know you guys get tired of me saying it, but we've still got a lot of games to play," Roenicke said. "Hey, I love where we are, but it's far from over."
The all-time one-month record belongs to the 1984 Detroit Tigers, who went 18-2 (.900) across the admittedly shorter schedule of April.The record for the best August winning percentage fell out of the Brewers' reach on Thursday, when they lost only their third game of the month. From that point on, even running the rest of the August table would have given them a record of 25-3 for a winning percentage of "only" .893, short of the 1906 Cubs' pace. As for still winning out this month, that can't be ruled out for a Milwaukee club which has not only been firing on all cylinders all month but entered it having won its final six games of July. "The cool thing is that I don't think we're really thinking about it," Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder said. "Every day is new. That's what's keeping us motivated."
Signature months have been trademarks of clubs that have dominated regular seasons -- particularly Augusts, the so-called dog days which are known to slam also-rans into the kennel and to also act as launching pads for elite teams.
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The proof is in the charts.The teams on the lists of the top 10 MLB records for August and for any month made it all the way to the World Series, with two exceptions a century apart: the 2002 Athletics lost the American League Division Series as the league's Wild Card team, and the 1902 Pirates simply burned too early (the initial World Series was held in the autumn of 1903). Half of the teams on the lists were Fall Classic winners. "Everybody knows Milwaukee is very good," Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata said. "They can do everything."
However, even some of those also-rans have been known to catch inexplicable fire and weave month-long magic.In the pantheon of monthly giants, for instance, the 2004 Tampa Bay Devil Rays may occupy a unique place. In that June, they went 20-6 (.769) -- which still couldn't help them avoid what, at the time, was a typical 90-loss season. The Devil Rays finished 70-91 to claim the distinction of very likely the best month for a 90-loss club.