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  • Can The Crew Still Make the Playoffs?


    Seth Stohs

    While not mathematically eliminated quite yet, the Brewers are 7 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the NL's Central Division. They are left to compete for one of three Wild Card spots in the playoffs. Can they do it? 

    Image courtesy of Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

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    As play begins on Saturday, the Milwaukee Brewers find themselves on the outside looking in.  The Cardinals are very likely to win the NL Central. They have a 7 1/2 game lead over the Brewers. The New York Mets have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The Dodgers have already clinched the NL West title. 

    As of this moment, the Atlanta Braves have clinched a playoff berth. They will have the #4 playoff spot unless they are able to pass the Mets and win the division. Here is a quick look at the Wild Card positioning in the National League heading into Saturday's games. 

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    As you can see, if the season were to end today, the Brewers would not find themselves in the playoffs. Right now, they are 2 1/2 games behind the Phillies and two games behind the Padres. 

    Here is a quick look at the remaining schedules for those three teams: 

    Milwaukee Brewers (11 games remaining)
    at Cincinnati (2 games)
    Day Off Monday
    Home vs St. Louis (2 games)
    Home vs Miami (4 games)
    Home vs Arizona (3 games) 

    After finishing their series this weekend in Cincinnati, the Brewers will head back to American Family Field for the final nine games of their season. With ace Corbin Burnes on the mound Saturday, the team could use him three times in the final 11 games, which is certainly a positive we can agree. The Cardinals will want to clinch, so I would expect them to continue playing hard in those two games. Miami is well out of contention, but with their young pitchers, especially Sandy Alcantara, they have a good chance to play "spoiler" over the season's final weeks. Finally, the Brewers will end the season with three games against the Diamondbacks. They have been out of contention for a long time, but with Zac Gallen and some young talent such as Corbin Carroll, they will not go down without some fight. 

    San Diego Padres (11 games remaining) 
    at Colorado (2 games) 
    Day Off Monday
    Home vs Dodgers (3 games)
    Home vs White Sox (3 games)
    Home vs Giants (3 games)

    Like the Brewers, the Padres will finish their current series on the road and get a day off on Monday before playing nine games at their home ballpark to end the season. The Padres could theoretically get three more starts from Yu Darvish, and pitchers like Mike Clevinger an d Blake Snell are certainly guys who have pitched in many big games before. The Dodgers have clinched, but they have had a 20+ game lead in the NL West for most of the second half of the season, so they are going to keep playing. The White Sox have been a mess, but they certainly have the talent to test the Padres for three games. Finally, while the Giants had a disappointing 2022 season, they have a solid pitching staff and would likely enjoy playing spoiler to Juan Soto, Manny Machado and the Padres. 

    Philadelphia Phillies (12 games) 
    Home vs Braves (2 games)
    Day off Monday 
    at Cubs (3)
    at Nationals (4)
    at Astros (3) 

    The Phillies have the opposite schedule as they have two more home games before ending the season with ten games on the road, including a doubleheader next Saturday. Atlanta has been great again this year, and the Phillies will face Kyle Wright, who will be making an attempt to win his 20th game of the year, and Charlie Morton. The Cubs aren't a good team, but Wrigley in September can often create its own challenges The Nationals will put up a fight with some of the players acquired the last couple of years in trades of Trea Turner, Max Scherzer and Juan Soto. And ending the season at Houston will also be tough. The Astros will be setting their playoff roster and rotation, but their talent is tremendous. 

    The Path for The Crew
    Let's start with the obvious; the Brewers need to do their part and win games. So, let's say that they win the final two games in Cincinnati, split their series against the Cardinals, win three of four games against the Marlins and end the season with at least two wins against the Diamondbacks. If they are able to do that, they will finish the season by going 8-3. 

    This season, there will be no Game 163s to break ties. Instead, the first tie-breaker is head-to-head matchups between the teams. This year, the Brewers were 3-4 against the Padres and 2-4 against the Phillies. In other words, if they tie for the final Wild Card spot with either team, they will not make the playoffs. They will have to pass them which makes it significantly more challenging. 

    If the Brewers go 8-3 the rest of the way, they would need either the Padres to go 5-6 or the Phillies to go 5-7 to pass them.

    The Brewers can help themselves. If they go 9-2 over the season's final 11 games, then they would pass the Padres if San Diego went 6-5 or if the Phillies went 6-6. 

    Of course, that goes the other way too. If the Brewers go 7-4 the rest of the season, then they would need the Padres to go 4-7 or the Phillies to go 4-8. Not impossible in either case, but much less likely to happen. 

    So what do you think? The Brewers have put themselves in a position where they not only need to win, but they need help too. Do you think the Brewers will pass either the Padres or Phillies and make the playoffs? 

     

     

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    Any team can have a 3 game winning or 3 game losing streak at any time. So, sure, it's possible. ESPN has the brewers with a 25% chance of making the playoffs; that's about right. But those chances can change considerably every day the teams play.

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    The saddest thing about this scenario being necessary?  Among NL teams, the Brewers have the third-best record against teams that are currently above .500.  Better than any of the wild card contenders, and better than even St. Louis.  But the Cards, Braves, Phillies, and Padres have beat the ever living snot out of the bad teams, while the Brewers have just played with their food.  And that's how you miss the playoffs.

    Of course, the Crew can partially make up for that with a very strong finish over the last week and a half.  But it should never have been necessary in the first place.

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    2 hours ago, HarveysWBs said:

    The saddest thing about this scenario being necessary?  Among NL teams, the Brewers have the third-best record against teams that are currently above .500.  Better than any of the wild card contenders, and better than even St. Louis.  But the Cards, Braves, Phillies, and Padres have beat the ever living snot out of the bad teams, while the Brewers have just played with their food.  And that's how you miss the playoffs.

    Of course, the Crew can partially make up for that with a very strong finish over the last week and a half.  But it should never have been necessary in the first place.

    Bingo. There was a lot of talk on here about "not being able to beat the good teams", but it's that mark of consistency that has been missing. It's fueled by the "run prevention" which has kept them from the extended bad stretches in past years. When you have that you win more than your share regardless of who you're playing. When you don't, well, here we are.

    That, and feeling the need to feel sorry for ourselves for a week after the trade deadline.

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    ESPN increased the brewers' chances of the playoffs to 30.7% after our win and PHL loss. What's odd is that they give PHL a higher chance than SD, in spite of being a half game back. I guess SD has he harder schedule?

     

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    38 minutes ago, Robocaller said:

    ESPN increased the brewers' chances of the playoffs to 30.7% after our win and PHL loss. What's odd is that they give PHL a higher chance than SD, in spite of being a half game back. I guess SD has he harder schedule?

     

    Yeah SD has the 7th most difficult schedule remaining (1 more at Coors then 3 against the Dodgers, Giants and White Sox). Philly is 20th (1 more against Atlanta then 4 against the Nats and 3 against the Cubs and Astros). We are 23rd (1 more against the Reds then 2 vs St. Louis, 4 vs Miami and 3 vs Arizona).

    A super hopeful 8-2 finish for the Brewers would still require either San Diego to close the year 5-5 or Philly close the year 6-5. It still doesn't look great for us. 

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    8 hours ago, Jim French Stepstool said:

    Bingo. There was a lot of talk on here about "not being able to beat the good teams", but it's that mark of consistency that has been missing. It's fueled by the "run prevention" which has kept them from the extended bad stretches in past years. When you have that you win more than your share regardless of who you're playing. When you don't, well, here we are.

    That, and feeling the need to feel sorry for ourselves for a week after the trade deadline.

    Yup. For all the talk of “wasting a year of Burnes and Woodruff with this offense” or all the McCutchen/Hiura controversy, the offense is still 8th in R/G with the position players wRC+ improved six points from last year too. They did what they were supposed to.

    Pitching, on the other hand, currently 18th in R/G after finishing 3rd last year.

    Bullpen has been especially leaky compared to past Stearns squads. 35-27 (.565 W%) might seem pretty solid on the surface, but is a couple steps down from the 146-86 (.629 W%) record the Brewers pen posted from 2018-21. 

    Would have an extra four wins if this year’s pen posted the 2018-21 W%.

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    It all comes down to 3 and 4.  For the Brewers to pass either the Phillies or Padres they have to lose 3 less than the Phillies and 4 less than the Padres.

    That leaves us with the following possibilities:

    image.png.6244a15abbf4b4791f6706b887b77208.png

    I don't think the Brewers will do better than 6-3 over the last 9, but they could go 7-2.  That leaves the Phillies as the likely team to pass and they have to go 5-5 or worse. The Phillies are 12-2 vs the Nats this year so the 4 game series may be the key if the Phillies take 2 from the Cubs  (Wheeler and Nola will be pitching against the Cubs) then the Phillies could easily take 3 of 4 from the Nats and have the 5 wins that requires the Brewers to go 7-2.  Even if the Brewers go 7-2 the Phillies need to win 1 against the Astros (if they go 5-2 against the Cubs/Nats).  If the Brewers go 7-2 the Padres only have to win 4 of their last 9 and with the Giants and White Sox in town to end the season I think even if the Dodgers sweep the Padres, they pick up the 4 wins at home to finish the season. Still a glimmer of hope.  Just don't lose bad to Mikolas on Tuesday and they likely could beat Quintana on Wednesday. 

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    The Brewers really blew a golden opportunity yesterday. That was the last of the Phillies playing a team with anything to play for. Now they play total garbage teams and then face the Astros who will have the #1 seed clinched well beforehand and likely resting guys to some degree. 

    HOWEVER:

    1) The Brewers schedule is light too

    2)The Brewers will be at home, where they have been better.

    3) The Phillies, who have been stellar at home, will be entirely on the road. 

    In my opinion, the Brewers blew their chance. Expecting the Phillies to go 5-5 against a bunch of teams that care nothing about winning regular season games and 2/3 are garbage on top of that...good luck. If that is what you are depending on, pack your bag for the offseason.

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    Philly is not playing well though. 10 games is enough to blow this. I'd think the Brewers have to go 7-2 though. Opponent quality matters least of all in baseball. The bad teams left on the schedules are probably more energized honestly at the end of the year when they have a chance to impact results. That's more exciting than slogging through July 20 games under .500.

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    If the Brewers had the tie-breaker I would feel better, obviously.  It feels like the Brewers need to win 7 or 8 of the rest of the games to make it in.

    I keep thinking back to some of the brutal losses they've had the last month or 2.  Feels like this team should have 5 more wins - but that's the way it goes.

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    32 minutes ago, OldSchoolSnapper said:

    Philly is not playing well though. 10 games is enough to blow this. I'd think the Brewers have to go 7-2 though. Opponent quality matters least of all in baseball. The bad teams left on the schedules are probably more energized honestly at the end of the year when they have a chance to impact results. That's more exciting than slogging through July 20 games under .500.

    The Phillies just got done playing a likely 90+ win team for two games and what is possibly a 100+ win team the Braves. Now they get to go play crummy teams. 

    Honestly, we should not even be in this situation. We could have used bullpen help before we traded Hader...then we traded him and didn't really do much to replace him. The last month the bullpen has really let us down on numerous occasions, some of which they were handed the ball with a decent lead. 

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    I am content with the season. Maybe not the right word, but, they are not that good. It doesn't feel like a missed opportunity to me. I don't think they are better than any of the 6 ahead of them. If they get in, someone blew it, basically. We are not bad, but not what I'd call good. 

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    13 minutes ago, OldSchoolSnapper said:

    I am content with the season. Maybe not the right word, but, they are not that good. It doesn't feel like a missed opportunity to me. I don't think they are better than any of the 6 ahead of them. If they get in, someone blew it, basically. We are not bad, but not what I'd call good. 

    Yeah, coming into the season they were slight favorites over STL for the Division, but for all intense porpoises it was a coin flip.

    We all knew if the coin flip didn’t fall our way that we’d be fighting it out for a Wild Card with about five teams vying for the three spots.

    This team was always a clear step down from LA/ATL/NYM for me, after 50 games I thought they had a chance to be at the top of that next tier, but Hader blew up, starting pitchers got hurt, the offense went MIA for stretches, the deadline didn’t work out.

    That it took so much going wrong for this team to likely end up missing out on the playoffs by a couple two tree games when all is said & done is (to me anyway) more of just “baseball happening” than it is any indictment of this season being some kind of embarrassing organizational failure.

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    1 hour ago, OldSchoolSnapper said:

    I am content with the season. Maybe not the right word, but, they are not that good. It doesn't feel like a missed opportunity to me. I don't think they are better than any of the 6 ahead of them. If they get in, someone blew it, basically. We are not bad, but not what I'd call good. 

    I do look at as a missed opportunity.  There really were only 8 teams in the NL with realistic chances at 6 playoff spots (the current 6 qualifiers plus the Brewers and Giants).  That's pretty good odds coming off a 95 win season. I think more teams in the rebuild/don't care to compete group are going to look at what it did take to make that last playoff spot this year and invest more to get within striking distance of the playoffs. The last offseason with the lockout and delayed Spring Training gave those teams little time to do much and they weren't sure how the new playoff structure would play out.  Now they have the time and the idea and with attendance down in multiple cities I think that means more competition from some of those teams and increasing cost to add those bargain FA like Wong and McCutcheon (and lest we all forget, JBJ), it will also likely drive up costs for mid-level pitching and players like Jace Peterson may be getting starting offers vs. 75% Utility man slots. Our budget and circumstances likely change going forward with being much harder to add a bargain through free agency.  Any economics that increases cost of players disproportionately impacts the smallest market in baseball.  I could be wrong and many of the current owners that are happy just walking away with $30-40M in profit fielding a horrible team will keep doing it, but if attendance keeps going down and it's clear that many of these organizations aren't making any progress there may be more friction among owners about the current welfare system in baseball (revenue sharing) and a push to start investing the revenue sharing. 

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    IMO, about 5 of those teams are clearly superior this year. I thought we were a bubble team for most of the season. Padres, without some of their injuries, would be even more comfortably ahead.

    Even if the Brewers make it, I do not think they have a team like 2011, 2018 or even 2019 or 2021. IMO, last season was more of a missed opportunity than this one, just having a bad week against an ATL team they were good enough to play with.

    It's baseball though. Anything can happen.

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    1 hour ago, Robocaller said:

    ESPN now has the Brewers' chances as 33.5%.  SD almost guaranteed to get in the P.O.s.

    538 has us at 47% and Philly at 56%. They project both of us to end at 87-75. 

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