After a great 8-4 win on Tuesday, September 13th, the Brewers lost the following day 1-4 in Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina’s record breaking 325th game as a battery for the Cardinals. This is a disappointing result on what could have been a huge momentum-changing two-game set, and makes the path to not only a potential repeat of division champions very hard.
But the second half record of some of the Brewers’ opponents might provide a glimmer of hope, if not for the division crown, at least for a fifth straight postseason berth.
With exactly three weeks remaining in the regular season, both the Brewers and Cardinals have 19 games remaining after that discouraging loss on Wednesday night. The Cards are staying in St. Louis, where they will be playing a five-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. Following this, most of their time down the stretch will be on the road, with only a quick three-game set against Pittsburgh in their second to last series.
Before getting home, though, the Cardinals will have a tough stretch, heading out West after the long series against the Reds to play the Padres and the Dodgers three games a piece across six days. This could help the Brewers in two ways, since the Crews is chasing the Padres for the last Wild Card spot.
Obviously, the two games remaining versus the Cardinals are the most important for the Brewers’ hopes for division triumph. After an off day, the Cardinals come to Milwaukee for that quick set starting on Tuesday, September 27th.
Any division-winning scenario starts with a sweep of that series. Since there no longer being a possibility of game 163, tiebreakers are important. Winning those two games would shift the split in the Brewers’ favor, but dropping either would mean the Cardinals take the season series.
At first glance, the rest of the Crew’s schedule looks a bit more rough than the Cards. Milwaukee’s opponents have an average winning percentage of 0.514, while St. Louis’ have just 0.489. Averaging for games played, Milwaukee’s opponents win percentage falls to below 0.500, but just barely, at 0.499, while St. Louis’ also fall to 0.477.
But looking at just the second half of the season, the schedule becomes much similar. Each of the teams will face three teams with a winning record after the All Star Break, and averaging for games played, Milwaukee plays teams with WP of 0.478 to St. Louis’s 0.472, a marginal difference.
Looking closer at the individual opponents:
- Milwaukee has to pounce on the opportunity of the Yankees’ second half (.451 winning percentage) struggles.
- They need to hope they avoid Max Scherzer’s Mets’ return from injury. It is likely they will be facing Jacob DeGrom, but not having to face both of those elite pitchers would be great.
- Cincinnati must be dealt with, and the Crew must at least match the wins St. Louis achieves against the Reds.
- Miami has been horrible in the second half, with just a 0.294 winning percentage.
- Unfortunately, Arizona has been great over the second half (as the Crew found out), with a winning percentage of 0.531.
Even so, making up the additional six games the Brewers would be a herculean task. It comes down to winning games. The Brewers have to win series, and have a few sweeps. They will need some help, but it is still reasonably possible. But even if they can’t, a strong finish positions them well to challenge for the Wild Card.
Here's to hope.
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