Milwaukee Brewers: Time to Gain Separation in Playoff Race

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 22: Jeremy Jeffress #32 of the Milwaukee Brewers walks to the dugout during the eighth inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on August 22, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 22: Jeremy Jeffress #32 of the Milwaukee Brewers walks to the dugout during the eighth inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on August 22, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

After a difficult road stretch for the Milwaukee Brewers, which at the time, resulted in them falling out of the two Wildcard spots, they now have an opportunity to make up ground and separate themselves from the other contenders.

Looking ahead to the next three series, the Brewers find themselves with a favorable schedule. They begin a three game series tonight against the Pirates at home. That is followed by two road series against the Reds and Nationals.

The Brewers need to capitalize on this stretch and not just finish above .500 during the next nine games. These games need to be won convincingly. Let’s look ahead to the three opponents that they will have to face.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Milwaukee Brewers kick off their series tonight against a struggling Pirates team at Miller Park. The Crew holds one of the best home records in the NL and has been doing a great job of getting men on base as of late. I would anticipate a much better performance than when the two teams previously met prior to the All Star Game.

The Pirates, who at one point were fighting to get back into playoff contention, have only two wins in their last ten games. They now find themselves below .500 and all but out of playoff contention at this point.

A majority of their recent slump can be attributed to their poor offensive production. Over their last 11 games, they have a team batting average of just .210. While also only scoring 20 runs in that span as well, averaging less than two runs per game.

Luckily for the Brewers, the Pirates are not the same team as when the two teams last met before the All-Star break. This should be a series that the Crew should easily be able to win at home. But the Pirates could be looking to play spoiler once again.

Cincinnati Reds

The Brewers will then head to Cincinnati for the start of a six game road-trip. After coming off a series win at Miller Park against the Reds, the Brewers look to continue their success at their home away from home, The Great American Ballpark.

The Reds are one of the worst teams in the NL and regardless of where this series is played, the Brewers should expect to win it or even sweep it. The latter could be a very real possibility as Milwaukee has had great success on the road in Cincinnati up to this point.

Through seven games this season, the Brewers have a 5-2 record at Cincinnati and their offense has been a big reason why. In those games, they are averaging 8.5 hits and have five runs per game to accompany those hits.

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The biggest reason for the Brewers success here, is how home run friendly the ballpark is. It ranks as one of the best parks in the league for home run hitters and the Brewers have compiled 12 long balls this season during their seven games in Cincinnati. A home run heavy ballpark plays into the Brewers strengths offensively, and is a big reason they should have continued success there.

Washington Nationals

Before heading back to Miller Park, the Brewers will make a stop in our nation’s capital for a three game series. After the Nationals rallied off a few wins to hang around the playoff discussion, they followed that up with some heartbreaking losses in Chicago and St. Louis.

Any fight that may have been left in the Nats was sucked out of them and they’ve been inconsistent since. They even let Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams get claimed off waivers, which all but confirmed that the Nats are punting on the 2018 season.

Over their last five games, pitching has been the issue. The team has a 5.67 collective ERA during those games. One would hope that if those kind of performances continue, the Brewers offense which has been playing well, will be able to take advantage of that.

During this series the Brewers starting pitching and bullpen will have to be playing well. The Nationals bats have been a strong part of this team all year and as of late they have been swinging them really well. However, if the Brewers expect to be a playoff team, beating a weakened Nationals team is a must.

The Milwaukee Brewers have a huge opportunity in front of them to take advantage of their upcoming schedule. Many of the other Wildcard contenders will be facing much more difficult opponents over this stretch.

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It’s beginning to be crunch time at this point in the season for Milwaukee. This will be a great chance for them to separate themselves from the rest of the pack and get them closer to securing a playoff berth.