At 11-12, the Brewers are still very much within playoff contention. The next 11 games, all versus NL Central foes, will go a long way toward staying there.
After playing essentially .500 baseball throughout the first third of the season and change, the Milwaukee Brewers are about to embark upon an 11-game stretch that goes from August 21st through August 31st, all of which will be against NL Central Opponents. Seven of the eleven games will be versus the Pittsburgh Pirates and four against the Cincinnati Reds.
In 2019, the Milwaukee Brewers were also basically a .500 team until another magical September run propelled them into the postseason. With expanded playoffs for the 2020 season, close to .500 baseball will keep most teams in playoff contention until the season’s end. With that being said, how important is this upcoming 11-game stretch?
Two Pirates series offer plenty of opportunities for wins
Of the five NL Central teams, the Pirates are by far performing the worst. In addition to having low expectations entering the season, the Pirates have been suffocated by injuries in 2020. Currently injured are pitchers Joe Musgrove, Kyle Crick, Mitch Keller, Nick Burdi, Michael Felix, and Clay Holmes.
Games against the Pirates this year were considered by many fans to be “must wins” given the shortened season and the increased importance of each game. To date, the Pirates are 3-8 versus NL Central opponents, with one of those wins coming against the Brewers. Currently at 4-17 overall, they do not pose much of a threat to secure one of the division’s playoff spots.
7 of Milwaukee’s next 11 games are against the Pirates. While sweeping Pittsburgh in seven games is highly unlikely, this does feel like a great opportunity for the Brewers to push their record a few games over the .500 hump. At worst Milwaukee needs to go 4-3 versus the Pirates during this stretch.
Brewers can’t underestimate the dangerous Reds
Expectations entering the 2020 season were high for the Reds, especially given how much money they spent in free agency. Of the new additions, Trevor Bauer has looked incredible and Nick Castellanos has found a power stroke, but Mike Moustakas has struggled to stay healthy.
The Reds have not fully fired on all cylinders at this point in the season and currently have a record of just 10-13. However, I would think that the Reds will be a team competing to enter the postseason towards the end of this 2020 season.
After this four-game series in August, the Brewers will face the Reds one more time for a three-game series at the end of September. While it would be great for the Brewers to distance themselves farther from the Reds by winning three or four games in this series, the reality is the series at the end of September will likely have more importance from a playoff standpoint.
All-in-all, It is important the Brewers finish this 11-game stretch with at least six wins to stay within grasps of a playoff spot and regain some momentum that was lost during the recent Twins series. After this stretch the Brewers will play 26 games in September, which still leaves plenty of opportunities to make a push for the postseason.
The Brewers begin this pivotal stretch tonight against the Pirates at 6:05pm CST, part of a three-game series that finishes their current road trip. Starting off with a victory would go a long way toward accomplishing the goal of completing the next 11 games with a winning record.