The Milwaukee Brewers are in the dog days of August, as is every team right now. With about six weeks remaining in the regular season, could this team have reached a turning point.
For about a month or so, the Milwaukee Brewers were just treading water, trying to stay alive and stay afloat in the NL Central race. They did that, and currently sit one game back in the division after Saturday night’s victory over the Nationals.
That game, in which 10 Brewers pitchers were used and nearly every position player came in, was one of the wildest and craziest games this entire season in MLB. Thanks to Eric Thames, who hit the Crew’s 7th home run of the night, the Brewers came out on top.
Losing a game like that can be demoralizing for a clubhouse. But winning that game can give a boost of energy and confidence to a team, and that’s exactly what the Brewers need to happen.
We’re approaching the point in the season where a team can get start to get hot right about now, and carry that through September and into October. Could this game be the turning point?
It’s no secret that Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader has been in a bad funk lately, serving up meatballs and dingers like we’ve never seen from him before. When he enters a ball game now, fans don’t feel like it’s a secured victory, but instead feel on edge, just expecting disaster.
It looked that way Saturday night, as Hader allowed the first few guys to reach, the tying run scored, the bases were loaded, and there were no outs. It looked like a guaranteed loss. But somehow, Hader was able to flip a switch during that inning, and struck out the top three batters in the Nationals order to end the threat and get the game to extras.
During those three batters, Hader looked like his old self again. He was locating his fastballs, he was mixing in sliders, and didn’t make mistakes. Perhaps that switch flip can get Hader back to his usual self consistently now. If he does, this bullpen is starting to look a lot better with both Hader and Albers dominating.
Christian Yelich had missed several games with a back injury, and since returning to the lineup, had hardly looked like himself, and was 1-for-15. He was grounding out a lot, and wasn’t barreling up baseballs that much, save one line drive double against the Twins.
But Yelich got back to his old self in style on Saturday, going 5-for-6 with two home runs.
With Yelich in a groove at the plate, and the offense finally getting some hits with runners in scoring position, this team could finally be reaching their true potential.
The Turning Point
Over the last week and a half, this Milwaukee Brewers team has been playing much better baseball. They’ve had some rough losses, but in general are looking better than they did in late June through July.
They’ve gotten some quality starts from their rotation, namely Adrian Houser who has also turned a corner lately, but the offense has let the rotation down. Saturday night, despite the pitching staff repeatedly giving up the lead, the offense was able to provide the necessary firepower to win the game.
This is the perfect time to hit that turning point and catch on fire for the next few weeks. After Washington, the Brewers have a string of division games, first going to St. Louis, then out of division to Arizona, then St. Louis again, then the Cubs, a tough interleague opponent in the Astros, then the Cubs again.
Now is the time to get a hot streak rolling, and if they can, it could give the Brewers the upper hand in the NL Central division race as it comes down to the wire.
If the Brewers end up winning the division, we’ll look to Saturday’s game against the Nationals as one of the turning points in the season.
The Milwaukee Brewers need a lot of things to go their way to win the division, and there have been a lot of things that have gone wrong this year. But they can still do it.