We’ve reached the All-Star Break and the Milwaukee Brewers are 5 1/2 games up on the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. While the first half of the season is important, division titles are not won in the first half, they are won in September.
Almost no one in baseball expected the Milwaukee Brewers to be in first place at this point in the season, let alone have 50 wins at the break. While the Cubs certainly have the ability to make a run, the Brew Crew has an easy path to October baseball, sort of.
The Milwaukee Brewers have one of the easiest schedules remaining in baseball. They have the easiest schedule in the entire NL Central. While that doesn’t guarantee success, it certainly can’t hurt.
Right after the All-Star Break, the Brewers begin a three game series against the last place Philadelphia Phillies, which is also the 1982 Reunion Weekend. After that, they begin a 10-game road trip that includes four games against the Pittsburgh Pirates, another three against the Phillies, and then three against the first place Nationals.
To finish the month, the Brewers will host the Chicago Cubs for three games as we head into the trade deadline. We’ve previewed the trade deadline for the Brewers and there should be a flurry of activity around the league. Maybe the Cubs will make some moves while they’re in town.
The Phillies aren’t very good, but the Pirates have been giving the Brewers some trouble this year, especially Andrew McCutchen. The Nationals should be a good test for the Crew and they could be facing a new and improved Chicago Cubs team at the end of the month.
If the Milwaukee Brewers can win the series against the Nationals and Cubs, that is a huge sign that they can hold their own in October.
As the season moves into the dog days of the summer, they get four very important off days in August. Two of them sandwich a home series with the Pirates in the middle of the month.
To start, though, the Brewers will host the St. Louis Cardinals for three games. That series will include theme nights for Hello Kitty and Educator Days. Then the team goes on the road for three games against the Tampa Bay Rays. After that, the Brewers play Minnesota in a home-and-home series with the Twins.
The Milwaukee Brewers then begin a seven-game homestand against the Twins, Reds, and Pirates. That homestand will include theme nights for Game of Thrones and Grateful Dead along with giveaways of free shirts and a Bob Uecker Magic 8-Ball.
Then begins a long road trip out west with three game series’ against the Rockies, Giants, and Dodgers. Luckily, the team has an off day before the trip begins, before the Dodgers series, and after the Dodgers series. After that, the Brewers come home for two games against the Cardinals and begin a series against the Nationals.
August will be a critical month for the Milwaukee Brewers. The Rockies and Dodgers are major contenders in the West division and Tampa Bay and Minnesota aren’t pushover’s either. The good news is that Chase Anderson is scheduled to come back at some point in August.
The Brewers will have come around Turn Four and head into the final stretch run, hopefully still in first place, as September rolls around. They continue their homestand with the final three games of a four-game series with the Washington Nationals and then it’s almost entirely division rivals the rest of the way.
A road trip then begins against the Reds with an off-day before their series in Chicago against the Cubs. Then there’s a short, three game homestand against the Pirates, and then another day off before heading to Miami to face their last non-division opponent.
Each of those series is three games and after Miami, the Milwaukee Brewers head to Pittsburgh for their final series against the Pirates. They will host the Cubs for four games and then the Reds for three. The Reds series will also have Fan Appreciation Night, which was originally scheduled for Thursday the 28th but was moved to Wednesday the 27th due to the Green Bay Packers playing on Thursday night. Even if the Brewers could lock up the NL Central that night, it’s difficult to compete with a Packers game-day.
The 28th is the final home game of the season for the Brew Crew and the team finishes the season, on the road against the Cardinals on October 1st. Whether or not the Milwaukee Brewers make the playoffs could come down to Game 162 on October 1st.
The Cardinals could even be the team to fight off in the Central race as they are currently tied for second in the division with the Cubs. They have been playing better baseball of late.
Can The Brewers Make The Playoffs?
If the Brewers can go on a run in late August/early September, they can ride it into October. They can go farther than anyone thought they would this year, possibly even to the World Series. It’s not guaranteed, it’s not promised, but it’s happened before.
The Milwaukee Brewers must continue to win series to maintain their lead in the division. They have seven games to play against the first-place Nationals, three against the first-place Dodgers and ten against the defending champion Chicago Cubs. The rest of their schedule isn’t too tough, but they cannot assume anything. The beauty of baseball is that any team can win on any given day.
The Brewers can make the playoffs if they stay healthy and their pitching holds up over the stretch run. The bullpen has been shaky at times and so has the rotation, but if they can stay well-rested and healthy. There’s no reason to believe this current team can’t make the playoffs.
What happens at the deadline will have a major impact on the Brewers’ results in August and September. There’s a good chance that Craig’s Crushers could end up winning the NL Central given their second half schedule.