Milwaukee Brewers: Recent Play Against Playoff Teams
The Milwaukee Brewers are coming off two series against legit teams out of the NL West. After splitting four games out in Chavez Ravine against the stacked Dodgers, Counsell’s squad came back to Milwaukee to nearly sweep the 59-52 Rockies.
These last few series show this current team’s potential. Snagging four out of seven against solid NL West teams is a huge development for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Going into the All-Star Break, the Brewers struggled mightily against above .500 teams. Their .468 win percentage against such opponents would not cut it in October, a concerning development. Added to that was the skid that preceded the four day break. All of this came together as foreshadowing a possible second half collapse similar to last year. Yet the team answered with upgrades before the trade deadline and solid play against good teams.
Milwaukee has put up an interesting resume since the Midsummer Classic. In no logical order, here’s a quick look.
Post-All Star Break
They struggled coming out of the gate in Miller Park against the Manny Machado-led Dodgers that ended with an 11-2 rout. Yet they picked up the pace following that with series wins at home against the Nationals and Rockies and in San Francisco against the Giants. They even grabbed two out of four in a rematch in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
All this looks like nothing on the surface yet is extremely important when realistically thinking of the Brewers’ chances in the playoffs.
The Nationals, a team that has struggled through the first part of the season, are an extremely deep playoff team. Their elite pitching staff coupled with star power in the lineup screams dark horse in October. Oh, and their run differential of +66 shows their actual talent. Yet the Brewers stole two out of three against an organization expected to compete for the World Series. That’s pretty convincing in itself.
The series against the Rockies had a chance to be a clean sweep but the team settled for two out of three. Snagging a solid series win against a squad that’s 2.5 games out of the NL West crown is something Milwaukee shouldn’t take lightly. They need to continuously win against good teams if they want to be competitors in the race for the pennant. This means taking care of business following a soul-crushing 21-5 defeat the night before. The Milwaukee Brewers desperately needed to bounce back, and they did.
Milwaukee then grabbed a convincing series win at AT&T Park. They stepped up against a perpetually overrated, yet underrated (that makes sense, right?), franchise to snag a few victories at the start of a brutal road trip. Yes, the Giants are at a run differential of -30 and have just awful roster construction thanks to their far fetched idea of winning. But this team still went into a tough place to play (the Giants are 32-22 at home) and did what good teams have to do: take advantage of bad teams.
Recent West Coast Stretch
They finished off that eight game west coast trip with a split against the Dodgers. After struggling in the first series against arguably the best team in the NL, they went into Los Angeles, won the first two games while almost stealing the third, and made some noise at the beginning of August. They finished the series with a devastating loss but that isn’t a sign of anything to come. Hernan Perez and Erik Kratz pitching two innings show how little the final score should be considered.
The Milwaukee Brewers of last year, and even of the six game skid before the break, aren’t nearly the same team as the one that trotted out in Miller Park this past game. The additions to shore up the bullpen and add to an underrated offense have shown glimpses of the team that will make a run late this year.
If the recent series against exceptional teams shows anything, it’s that Milwaukee isn’t going down quietly.