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  • A Shift in the Schedule Should Boost the Brewers' Performance

    Tim Muma

    Fans need to hear it yearly, so here is your friendly reminder: the MLB season is incredibly long, allowing for varying degrees of challenging stretches. The 2022 Milwaukee Brewers' schedule is shifting in their favor after a grueling couple of months.

    Image courtesy of © Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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    Many factors go into a team's peaks and valleys throughout the season. The opponent determines some of the challenges. Some are due to the travel schedule. Other times it is a matter of multiple circumstances that you can't always explain.

    The critical thing to remember is that fortunes can change many times over 162 games. Teams must keep their heads above water through the tough times and take advantage of the easier stretches to survive the marathon to the playoffs. One of those nicer spurts is on the horizon. But first, a look back at what the Brew Crew has overcome.

    First off, in the span of 45 days, the Brewers endured a trio of three-city road trips. That is unheard of when talking about the frequency of travel in a limited period. Plus, the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Mets were among the teams Milwaukee played on the road during the time. All of those clubs are in first or second place in their divisions. In those 29 total road tilts, the Brewers went a respectable 15-14.

    Before Milwaukee embarked on its third three-city trip, the club also played 18 games in 17 days, including 11 away contests in 10 days with a doubleheader in the middle. They survived that road run with a 6-5 mark. While that might not sound like anything special, you aren't looking at those games in a vacuum.

    That's because all of that is even more impressive considering the slew of injuries the Brewers were dealing with at the time, missing guys like Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, Willy Adames, Hunter Renfroe, and plenty of others. Of course, the slate of games coupled with the significant injury bug eventually led to Milwaukee's low point of the season.

    They lost 12 of 15 games that included an eight-game losing skid to knock them out of first place. It felt and looked a bit bleak, but they got a big win over the Mets and snapped off an 8-4 stretch by taking two of three games from the Toronto Blue Jays. After an off-day Monday, the first-place Brewers (42-33) look to enjoy a new stretch of the schedule.

    After a quick two-game set in Tampa Bay, Milwaukee heads to Pittsburgh for a four-gamer with the Pirates. The Brewers are 6-0 versus Pittsburgh this season and match up well with their roster. Admittedly, the Pirates are a tad more formidable with the call-up of Oneil Cruz; however, they are still just 29-43 overall and have lost four of their last five contests. 

    Then the Crew heads home for three against the 28-46 Chicago Cubs and three more versus Pittsburgh. That 10-game period is the perfect time for Milwaukee to regain some victories they lost during their most brutal stretch. It's the perfect example of the schedule balancing out as a team traverses the slog of a season.

    The Brewers' schedule also features other favorable advantages from here to the end of the year.

    • After the next road series in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee will have 47 home games and 34 road games.
    • From this point forward, the Brewers have 13 games with the Pirates, 10 contests against the Cincinnati Reds, and 14 combined matchups versus the Arizona Diamondbacks (34-41) and Colorado Rockies (33-42).
    • Milwaukee ends the season with four games in Cincinnati, followed by nine straight home tilts: two against the Cardinals, four versus the Miami Marlins, and three contests with Arizona.

    Like it or not, successful teams traditionally dominate the lesser clubs in the league while holding serve with the top group. It is logical for teams with a relatively even talent level to beat each other up and rarely make up lots of ground. When the better clubs square off against inferior foes, records should start to rise.

    Of course, none of this favorable tilt in the schedule guarantees success. But with the team's improved health going forward (hopefully) and an optimistic view of the calendar, the Milwaukee Brewers have a ton of time to make multiple runs. Again, during such a long season, there are windows that can be used to build a lead, catch teams in front of you, and find your stride in time for the playoffs. 

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