The window for the Milwaukee Brewers to make the 2022 MLB postseason is getting ever smaller as the days go by. It is nowhere close to shut, though.
The Crew head into their Thursday off day coming off a two-game split with the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals. While a repeat division title is now unlikely – the Brewers sit eight games back of the Cards with 19 games to go – a Wild Card berth is well withing reach.
Milwaukee currently sits 4.5 games behind the Philadelphia Philles for the second Wild Card spot and just two behind the San Diego Padres for the third one. Both teams arguably have tougher remaining schedules than the Brewers.
To reach the playoffs, the Brewers will need do something they haven’t been able to do down the stretch: stack up wins against weaker opponents. If they can finally get out of their own way and accomplish that, they could extend a franchise record by reaching a fifth straight postseason.
In order to go on that type of run, teams often need a couple players to get hot at just the right time. In Milwaukee’s case, there a few players who have underperformed that, if they can step up, might be able to propel the Crew into the playoffs.
Here are four players who must step up if the Brewers want to make the 2022 MLB playoffs.
1. OF Andrew McCutchen
Last offseason, the Brewers made essentially their one big high-dollar(ish) splash when they signed free agent veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a one-year, $8.5MM deal. The hope was that he would provide an extra offensive punch, particularly against lefties.
Well, outside of a hot streak in the middle of the summer, McCutchen hasn’t really provided that punch. His numbers in 2022 have been underwhelming at a .242 average and .707 OPS. His .310 on base percentage through 121 games would be the lowest mark of his 14 seasons as would his .397 slugging percentage.
Things have really tailed off for McCutchen over these last couple months. He slashed just .193/.273/.375 in 24 games in the month of August and has improved only slightly to .225/.279/.475 in 11 games here in September.
If he can’t significantly improve his slash line, it would be great if McCutchen can at least provide some big hits in the last few weeks. That’s something he’s been able to do to an extent this season.
McCutchen has 17 home runs and 65 RBIs for the Brewers so far in 2022, numbers that rank 4th and 3rd on the team, respectively. Milwaukee has struggled, at times, to bring runners home in big situations this season and McCutchen delivering with some run-scoring hits down the stretch would go a long way toward securing some extra wins.