Last weekend’s series didn’t go anywhere near as planned for the Brewers. But there’s no time to dwell, because two doubleheaders in three days await.
The way the Brewers kicked off their recently finished series against the Cubs, it looked like the Crew were ready to begin their playoff push. True, the bats took a while to wake up, but they ended up battling for a dramatic 1-0 walkoff win on Friday to kick off a tough eight-game stretch.
Saturday’s game made it look as though the trend would continue. The Brewers took a 2-0 lead into the ninth, continuing a run where they’d kept opponents scoreless for over three games’ worth of action, and handed the ball to their, to that point, dominant closer Josh Hader.
That’s where the wheels fell off on the weekend. Hader would give up a three-run homer to Jason Heyward and the Brewers would lose the game. The next day, Milwaukee would surrender 12 runs, commit three errors, and allow lightly regarded Cubs starter Alec Mills to throw the 16th no-hitter in Chicago Cubs history.
Unfortunately for the Brewers, there is no time to take a step back and figure out what went wrong over the weekend (outside of yet again just plain not scoring enough runs). Instead, they get to continue this pivotal homestand by immediately shifting focus to the five games they get to play against the Cardinals over the next three days.
Brewers finally get to take on the Cardinals
It took until the 45th out of 60 games in 2020, but Milwaukee finally gets to match up against the Cardinals for the first time this season. Their originally scheduled series, which would have begun way back at the end of July, was cancelled due to a COVID outbreak in the Cardinal clubhouse.
Because of that, as well as the slim options for rescheduling games this year, the Brewers and Cardinals get to play five games over the next three days. The series will feature a return to the Brewer rotation for Josh Lindblom, who was briefly removed due to shaky performance and some extra off days, and Brett Anderson, whose start was pushed as a result of a small hip issue.
The Cardinals will be no easy task for that inconsistent Brewer offense, as St. Louis pitchers are 6th in MLB with a 3.83 ERA. Luckily, as Adam McCalvy of MLB.com writes, the Brewers are staying positive about their chances both against St. Louis, and to secure a playoff spot, at least according to Lindblom.
“You know, I like to be the eternal optimist here,” said Josh Lindblom, who will try to steer the Brewers in a better direction when he starts Game 1 on Monday. “It really sucks, but it’s one loss. The sun is going to come up [Monday] and we have a baseball game to play. The crazy thing about this season is we’re one good week away from being right in the thick of things.”
Playoffs are still well within reach for the Brewers
Despite what many on social media might tell you after yesterday’s dud of all duds, a 2020 playoff berth is still well within grasp for Milwaukee. Monday morning finds the crew just two games behind the Cardinals for 2nd in the NL Central, as well as two games behind the Giants for the second Wild Card spot.
The Brewers start their series against the Cardinals off with a doubleheader on Monday. So it is entirely possible that they could find themselves tied with St. Louis for the division’s second playoff bid by this time tomorrow. They could also gain a full game on the Giants, who are idle on Monday.
Keep in mind as well, the Cubs are a very good team this year. While it definitely would have been nice to put up more of a fight offensively over the weekend, there’s a reason the Cubs have the fourth best record in the National League and the Brewers still managed to split the season series with them.
The Cardinals are a different story, though that hasn’t mattered for the Brewers so far this season. Milwaukee doesn’t have any better than a .500 record against any team that they’ve played in 2020. That trend needs to change, starting with St. Louis, if the Brewers want to make the postseason.
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The final result of last weekend’s Cubs series was unfortunate, but it’s already time to put that in the past. The playoffs are still there for the taking and it’s now the Cardinals who stand in the way.