There’s a baseball saying many have possibly heard that goes, “you can’t win the division in April, but you can certainly lose it.” Depending on how you look at things, the same could be said about the month of May too. Count the Milwaukee Brewers as a team who hasn’t lost the division yet by any means.
Heading into 2021, it was easy to see the first month of the season would be a tough one for the Crew. April featured just one series against a team, the Pirates, that didn’t make the expanded playoff format in 2020. Yet the Brewers exited the month at 16-10, leading the NL Central.
May’s schedule looked to have its challenges as well, but looked to ease up at least a little bit compared to April. Unfortunately, Milwaukee would slump over a good portion of the month, at one point going through a stretch where they lost 13 of 17 games and leaving fans wondering who to blame.
But things have looked up again for the Brewers recently. They have won four of their last six and most recently took the season series against the dangerous Padres. At 25-25, they sit in third place in the division, just three games back of both the Cubs and Cardinals.
It’s no news to Brewers fans that the team has achieved this despite what would be generously described as a subpar offense, made possible by stellar starting pitching. To reach the playoffs, though, the offense will need to eventually hold up their end of the bargain.
Luckily, the Brewers’ upcoming schedule gives their offense the opportunity to get back on track.
Milwaukee heads into the final weekend of May with an offense that is hitting .209, second worst in the MLB, with an OPS of .649 that is third worst. Meanwhile their 501 strikeouts are tied for fourth most in the league. A team with playoff aspirations can’t keep that type of offense up.
If ever there were a time to turn around that trend, though, it’s over the next month’s worth of games.
The Brewers’ next nine series come against six teams who have records under .500 at this point in the 2021 season. Four of those six teams – the Nationals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, and Tigers – occupy last place in their respective divisions. The other two – the Reds and Rockies – are both second to last in their divisions.
All six of those teams feature team ERAs over 4.00 with each ranking in the bottom half of MLB, the Nationals being the highest at 4.15 (T16th). It would come as no surprise then that they all rank in the bottom half in combined pitching fWAR as well, the Tigers surprisingly topping the group at 3.7 (17th).
Those games would carry the Brewers into a series against the Cubs that would end the month of June. If the offense does indeed take advantage of this opportunity, they could head into that series with a ton of momentum.
Beating up on bad pitching can be just what the doctor ordered for a struggling offense. Let’s see if the Brewers can do exactly that and get the offense back on track.