The Milwaukee Brewers are heading off to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers for their final series of the regular season. While there were thoughts that this series might just be two playoff teams trying to gear up and stay healthy for the upcoming postseason, there’s an extra motivating factor for the Dodgers.
While the Brewers have locked up the NL Central and are slotted in to the No. 2 seed no matter what, the Dodgers still have plenty to fight for. That NL West division is still up for grabs.
The Dodgers have won over 100 games this season, but they’re two games back of the Giants for the NL West lead. The Giants have a magic number of 3.
Los Angeles has been trying to chase down the Giants all season and they can ill afford any losses in the final series while the Giants take on the Padres in their final series. The Giants are facing a weaker opponent, but one who might have a desire to play spoiler. The Brewers, however, aren’t focused on playing spoiler and are simply getting themselves ready for the games that really matter in October.
With the Dodgers still having something to fight for, the Brewers may have a tough time winning games in the final series.
Los Angeles will not want to go through this entire season, winning 100+ games, and leaving it up to a one-game playoff in the Wild Card round where everything could end against the red-hot Cardinals who have won 18 of their last 19 games.
They don’t want that Wild Card. As long as they have a shot at the division, they are going to be playing hard. The Brewers, meanwhile, are not going to expend much more energy than necessary on this series. That’s not to say the Crew will completely roll over for the Dodgers, but they won’t be too worried about wins or losses in these next three games.
When these teams last faced each other in late April and early May, the Brewers won three of four. A lot has changed, for both teams, since then. But the Brewers have improved their roster quite a bit, and they do have a good plan for success lined up.
Eric Lauer is pitching on Friday, and he’s been excellent historically against the Dodgers. Then Cy Young frontrunner Corbin Burnes pitches on Saturday, and he’s in line to secure an ERA title and cement his Cy Young frontrunner status. The Brewers also haven’t lost a Burnes start since July 7th.
Things are lining up well for the Brewers in that regard as they get themselves ready for the postseason. But they will be facing an opponent that’s playing for something still.
This should make for an interesting final series of the regular season. There’s also a chance these two teams meet up in the playoffs once again. If they do, it’ll be in the NLCS, just like it was in 2018.