It is not my intention to be dramatic, but I truly believe that whether the Milwaukee Brewers end up making the playoffs or missing them, would have been because of this 14-game stretch following the All-Star break.
The Brewers began the second half of the season with some difficult series’, including seven of the 14 games against the red-hot Dodgers, four games in San Francisco against the Giants who play very well at home (32-22), and a three game series at home against the inconsistent but dangerous, Washington Nationals. Even through this tough stretch, the Brewers were able to post a record of 8-6, including a 5-3 record on their west coast road trip.
We all remember how the first half of the season ended, with a soul crushing stretch of losing 7 out of 8, including 6 in a row. After a magnificent home stand where the Brewers went 6-1, including a convincing series win over Atlanta, the Brewers traveled to Miami to play against the feeble Marlins and then to Pittsburgh for a rare 5 game series.
The poor showing in the last two series could have happened for several reasons including injuries piling up, looking ahead to the All-Star break, and overlooking their opponents. Regardless, it was a difficult way to end what was otherwise a successful first half of the season.
The Early Losing Streak
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The baseball season is a long one and just about every team goes on a losing streak. So, simply looking at the Brewers end of the first half and letting it over shadow the entire season thus far doesn’t do this team justice. However, if the difficult stretch had continued after the All-Star break, I believe it would have led to a collapse similar to what we saw in 2017.
Currently, excluding the division leaders, all but 4 teams in the NL have a chance to make the playoffs via a Wild Card spot. If the Brewers had fallen back to the pack, their playoff chances would have taken a huge hit. In addition, 11 of their next 14 games are against the Rockies, Braves, Cubs and Cardinals. All of which are still in contention and fighting for a playoff spot. Getting off to a good start to begin the second half was mandatory to stay in a leading playoff position.
Lastly, we must address the well-known but intangible force known in the sports world as “momentum”. Luckily, the All-Star break happened when it did to give this team a chance to regroup and bounce back. But continued struggles would have built on each other like a snowball rolling down a mountain and who knows how far we may have fallen.
Although we focused on how bad things could have been for the Milwaukee Brewers, being the dominant baseball team that they are, they bounced back as expected. I wanted to stress the importance that these past 14 games held. The Brewers did fall into a slump to end the first half of the season, but this can happen to any team over the course of 162 games.
The Milwaukee Brewers have a strong team that has a good starting rotation, a reliable bullpen, and an offense that can get hot at any moment. However, had these 14-games gone differently, at the end of the season we would have been able to look back and say, “that stretch after the All-Star break is why we missed the playoffs”.