The Milwaukee Brewers enter the month of September once again hoping for a turnaround on the field.
In 2019, the Brewers were practically a middle of the pack team from April through August. In September, they went on a 17-4 run to start the month and pushed themselves into the playoffs. In 2018, the Brewers were five games out of the division lead and ended up overtaking the Cubs behind a strong final month.
Under Craig Counsell, a strong month of September has been part of the modus operandi.
In previous years, one of the reasons for that success was because of expanded rosters in the month of September, where teams can have as many as 40 players available for a game. The past two years, Counsell has had at least 35 players up in the month of September.
This year, things are going to be a little different. Even before the pandemic arrived and shortened the season, the active roster would’ve only expanded to 28 players in the month of September from the original 26 man roster. Now, rosters are at 28 players to begin with and there will be no further expansion of rosters.
The minor league season is non-existent this year, and the alternate training sites will continue throughout the rest of the big league season.
Even without expanded rosters, can Craig Counsell and the Brewers create some more September magic?
Brewers Need Another September Success Story
As we’ve pointed out, the Brewers just seem to turn things into another gear in the month of September. That success mitigates any struggles from earlier in the season and gives the team momentum heading into the playoffs.
Given the struggles in the first half of this season, that’s exactly what the Brewers are going to need. The Brewers currently sit four games back of the Cubs for the division lead and a game back of the Cardinals for that second spot and a guaranteed playoff berth, although the Cardinals have currently played eight less games.
The offense has struggled, that much has been obvious. Lately, the team has been showing a few more signs of life, which is encouraging. Now that the calendar has turned to September and we’re in the final month of the season, the pressure is on. They’ve handled it before.
August was a struggle, and with only one scheduled off day and a string of tough opponents, that was almost to be expected. In September, the Brewers have four scheduled days off but also three doubleheaders against the Cardinals.
They’ll have 10 games against the Cardinals in a span of 14 days. That should be a tough grind. Also in this month, the Brewers have four games against the Detroit Tigers and three games against the Kansas City Royals. The Brewers will play the rest of their remaining games against the Indians, Cubs, and Reds.
Counsell’s team is going to need to find some September magic once again and will have to do so without expanded rosters or fans in the stands. They have to create that energy on their own and use only the guys they already have. No more reinforcements are on the way.
The members of the offense are the ones who need to find the magic the most. If they can find consistent success in this month, the Brewers will be successful in this month. There are 26 games remaining over the next 27 days. A hot stretch can make a huge difference.