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.
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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