1. The Brewers have to replace CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, but it's a little more complicated than that. Sheets was the National League's All-Star starter after a 10-3 first half, but he won only three games after the Brewers traded for Sabathia on July 6. Still, the Brewers were 32-16 in the 48 games started by Sabathia and Sheets. They were just 58-56 in games started by anyone else.
2. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin likes to remind people that the Brewers have actually won more games than the Cubs over the last four seasons. He's right, too. The Brewers are 329-319, while the Cubs are 327-320. Chicago has won the National League Central the last two years, but the Brewers have the lead in playoff victories in that span, 1-0.
3. New Brewers manager Ken Macha averaged 92 wins a year in four seasons managing the A's, but when he was fired after the 2006 season, it took him two years to get another job. Macha spent last year working in television in Boston, and that means his closest look at the 2008 Brewers came in one of their worst series of the season. The Red Sox swept the Brewers in three games at Fenway Park in the middle of May, by scores of 5-3, 7-6 and 11-7.
4. Shortstop Alcides Escobar is the Brewers' top prospect, but third baseman Mat Gamel is the youngster with the best chance of making the team. With J.J. Hardy as the starter at short, the Brewers are content to have Escobar play in Triple-A. Gamel will be given a chance to make the team, competing with Bill Hall and Mike Lamb at third.
5. Trevor Hoffman and Eric Gagne have some history, as National League West rivals with the Padres and Dodgers. Hoffman's brother Glenn was even Gagne's manager for a couple of years with the Dodgers. Now Hoffman is the Brewers' new closer, and Gagne is in camp hoping to become the setup man.