Life is pretty good right now if you’re a Milwaukee Brewers fan. Sure, the team just dropped a couple games to the rival Cubs, which resulted in a split of the road series against the Northsiders.
That, though, was the end of an 11-game road trip in which the Brewers finished 6-5 despite injuries to some key players and seven of the games being against the Padres and Cardinals, both second place in their respective divisions.
Milwaukee ended the month of May just how they started it: leading the NL Central division. Going into Thursday, the Crew now sit at 32-20, two games ahead of the Cardinals, while their +38 run differential is the fourth best in the National League.
Reinforcements should be arriving soon, too. Shortstop Willy Adames, who has been out with an ankle injury, and outfielder Hunter Renfroe, on the IL himself with a bad hamstring, should be returning any day. Starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff, who suffered his own ankle injury, hopefully isn’t far behind.
So, there should be no reason to think the Brewers will be losing their grip on the dicision any time soon, right? Well, one writer apparently disagrees.
A recent article on MLB.com predicts that the Cardinals will take the NL Central lead from the Brewers later in June.
Anthony Castrovince recently released a list of “9 brash prognostications for June” on MLB.com. His very first one dealt with the two teams battling for supremacy in the division the Brewers currently lead.
He referenced recent injuries for Milwaukee as well as their tendency to be homer-heavy as reasons for their vulnerability as well as some players returning from injury joining a couple impressive rookies and well-performing stars as reasons to be bullish on the Cardinals.
Here was when he specifically predicted that St. Louis will pass Milwaukee in the standings, though.
"A four-game set between the Brew Crew and Cardinals on June 20-23 will be a key plot point in a division race that could go down to the wire. The Cards will have taken over first place by the end of that series."
Is it possible that these factors all align in the right way for the Redbirds and they do in fact become the leaders of the NL Central? Sure.
But who’s to say that the Brewers’ own returning players, as were mentioned above, don’t boost Milwaukee too? And who’s to say that Milwaukee’s offensive approach, which has them 10th in MLB in runs per game (4.58), 6th in slugging (.408), 8th in OPS (.718), and 2nd in homers (70) doesn’t continue to work in their favor?
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There’s just as much reason to believe that the Brewers will keep their grip on the NL Central lead when another month gets torn off the calendar. It’s what baseball fans have come to expect so far this season, after all.