Bold Prediction No. 3
Brewers get out to hot start, are in first place through 20 games
The Brewers will have played their 20th game of the season on August 13th. By the end of that day, marking one-third of the way through the schedule, I predict the Brewers will be in first place in the NL Central.
I’ll even go one step further and predict the Crew’s record through 20 games, which I’ll boldly put at 14-6.
Through the first couple weeks of the season, Craig Counsell is being gifted extra roster spots which will allow him to utilize the Brewers incredible roster depth to the max. With extra pitchers and extra hitters to make favorable matchups, the Brewers stand a higher chance of winning each individual game. Yes, every other team has those same extra spots, but Counsell has proven himself to be a master at creating matchups and out-maneuvering other managers.
There are some tough games in the early going, including a road series against the Cubs to start the season, then a home series against the Cardinals. There are also some weaker matchups, including a three game series against the Pirates and four games against the White Sox. Playing those games at home against the Reds and Twins will be very intriguing to watch as both are improved rosters that can present challenges now and in the future.
The Brewers will have a stretch of 14 games without an off day in the initial 20 games. It’s better to have that stretch early rather than late, and with players just itching to get going, they should be just fine during that stretch.
The NL Central is going to be a dogfight with the Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals, and Reds all expected to compete for playoff spots this year. With so many games against division opponents, by the end of the year, this is likely to be a close race that comes down to the wire. A hot start can make all the difference in a shortened season like this.
In a 162 game season, there’s a lot more room for error and you can go through a cold stretch and still be fine. That won’t be the case this season in this division. Quickly jumping out to the division lead is going to be extremely important, and the Brewers are in a great position to do so.