The Milwaukee Brewers picked up a half game on the idle Cubs and Rockies with a win over the Pirates on Monday night. However, they’re still two games in back of the Wild Card leader, and 3 1/2 games behind the Cubs for the NL Central. What are their current odds, and how can they beat them?
Every sports site has a projection system that provides updated odds for the current pennant race. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Milwaukee Brewers have a 22% chance of making the playoffs and a 9% chance of winning the division. ESPN has the Brewers at a 15.4% chance of making the playoffs. These may seem like long odds, but they can be overcome.
What can the Brewers do to improve the odds?
The short answer is ‘win’. All the Milwaukee Brewers have to do is win. They have 12 games remaining on the schedule. Four are against the Cubs in Miller Park this weekend. The Brewers need to win as many of those games as possible to put pressure on the Cubs and Rockies. Losing the series means the season is all but over. A series split doesn’t help. They need to take all four games or at least manage to win three out of four to stay in the race.
As for the Rockies, they appeared to have the second Wild Card spot locked up in July. That’s no longer the case as they face a serious challenge from the Brewers. The Wild Card looks like the more viable path to the post season because it’s closer. The Milwaukee Brewers are only two games away from Colorado with an elimination number that sits at 11 with 12 games to play. The Rockies are the more vulnerable of the teams the Brewers are chasing.
What do the Brewers have to do to earn a Wild Card spot?
Losing Jimmy Nelson for the rest of the season was a serious blow to the Milwaukee Brewers playoff aspirations, but they can overcome his injury. The Brewers may have to switch to a four-man rotation, but with off-days and the extra bullpen arms, it looks like an option.
Chase Anderson is the de facto ace of the staff, and he needs to continue to pitch like it. He’s 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA in three September starts. The Brewers need him to rack up results over his final three starts.
Brent Suter has even impressed in April with a 1.50 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance. His September performance also needs to continue.
Brandon Woodruff and Zach Davies would round out the four-man rotation with Matt Garza serving as a mop up guy. He has an ERA just under 9.00 for August and September. He simply can’t be trusted in the final two weeks.
In addition to the starting pitching, the lineup needs to continue to produce runs. Ryan Braun has an OPS over 1.000 for September. He’s created 20 runs in 15 games, and been every bit the superstar he’s expected to be. However, the Milwaukee Brewers also need production from other parts of their lineup. A ‘one-man show’ in September won’t get them to the post season.
The odds aren’t in the Milwaukee Brewers’ favor right now, but a few wins against the Cubs and that could change. They face an uphill climb in the final two weeks, but they are not out of it until they’re mathematically out of it. A lot can and will happen in the final weeks, and the Brewers will be in the middle of it.