Milwaukee Brewers: Comparing 2017 to past playoff runs

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 26: Orlando Arcia
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 26: Orlando Arcia /
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In the 47 years of Milwaukee Brewers baseball, the franchise has only made the playoffs four times.

Read that number again, and let it sink in. Four playoff appearances in 47 years for the Milwaukee Brewers. If that’s not the definition of a tortured fan base, then I don’t know what is.

However, there is some silver lining for Brewers fans: the team has never shied away from making an acquisition to further a playoff push. The organization has made big moves in the past to help get over the hump, but we’ll get into that later. However, this year has been different, as they’ve made only a few minor moves.

The Brewers didn’t make a huge splash in the trade market this season. They opted to not gut the system for high end players like Jose Quintana or Sonny Gray. Instead they made the necessary moves to help shore up the bullpen.

The Brewers traded prospect Ryan Cordell for right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak in July. Swarzak was tremendous this season for the Chicago White Sox, and that has continued in Milwaukee.

Through 15 1/3 innings pitched for the Brewers, Swarzak has 24 strikeouts with only three walks. He has stepped in to help take the late game pressure off of youngster Jacob Barnes. Unfortunately, Swarzak is a free agent at season’s end. However, with his numbers, he has given the Brewers every reason to bring him back in 2018.

In addition to adding Swarzak, the Brewers also acquired Jeremy Jeffress from the Texas Rangers. With his prior closing experience, Jeffress could be a vital piece to the bullpen this month. He has always pitched well for the Brewers. He is back in his comfort zone. And although his fastball isn’t what it was, Jeffress brings an intensity to the field that this team needs sometimes.

The Crew also made a move to shore up the middle infield by acquiring Neil Walker from the New York Mets. Walker has been an excellent addition to this point. Through 23 games, he has a .388 on base percentage to go along with three home runs. Therefore, heftily improving the offense. He has played multiple positions defensively for the Brewers, and provides good glove work wherever he plays.

Unfortunately, this season bears a striking resemblance to that of 2014. That year the Crew was in contention late into the season. They chose to only make minor moves, hence falling out of playoff contention and collapsing down the stretch.

There is still time for the Brewers to make the playoffs this season. For that to happen, they will need every player on the roster to step up. From Quintin Berry to Ryan Braun, it’s time for them to take ownership over this season.

General manager David Stearns has made all the right moves during his time in Milwaukee. If this team doesn’t make the playoffs this season, it won’t be an indictment on Stearns. The fact that they are even in contention shows the tremendous job he has done building this team.

In the previous playoff appearances for the Brewers, then GM’s Doug Melvin and Harry Dalton made all the right moves. Let’s take a look back at those playoff pushes.