There is one thing we know for sure at this point. The Milwaukee Brewers are the NL Central division champs and are locked into the 3rd seed of the MLB playoffs. What we don't know is who the Crew will be playing when the postseason begins next week.
With just two days left in the regular season (plus a possible third makeup day for one of the teams), four different teams could end up matching up with the Brewers as the sixth seed: the Diamondbacks, the Marlins, the Cubs, and the Reds.
As it stands, the Diamondbacks are currently holding on to the second Wild Card spot and fifth seed, but are just a half game ahead of the Marlins, who would match up with the Brewers if the season ended today. The Cubs and Reds are each 1.5 games out of a playoff spot for now, but are mathematically still alive heading into Saturday.
It could be anywhere from one to three days before the Brewers find out who they will be playing next week. With that in mind, let's take a look at who Milwaukee fans should most prefer to see the Crew play in the first round of the MLB playoffs.
Here is a ranking of the most preferable Wild Card round matchups for the Brewers in the MLB playoffs.
#1 most preferable Wild Card round matchup: Cincinnati Reds
For a while, it seemed very likely that the Reds would be joining the Brewers in the playoffs as the two battled it out for the lead in the NL Central. Cincinnati ended up fading late in the season, though, and now see their playoff hopes on life support with just a few games left in the season.
If the Reds actually pulled off the last minute miracle and made it into the playoffs, it would represent the best case scenario and most preferable matchup for the Brewers. Milwaukee has dominated their NL Central opponent in 2023 with their 10 wins being the most they have against any other team this season.
The Reds had a relatively week starting rotation for most of the season and then didn't do anything to upgrade the situation at the trade deadline. It'll be a long shot, but if they can somehow grab the final Wild Card spot it could be a recipe for getting the Brewers into the next round somewhat easily.
#2 most preferable Wild Card round matchup: Miami Marlins
Right now, this feels like the most probably Wild Card round matchup for the Brewers. It's how the playoffs would currently line up if no more games were to be played and the Marlins need just one more win to guarantee themselves a trip to the postseason.
The Brewers had some good battles with the Marlins this season but ended up coming out on top in the season series, taking four out of seven games. They secured the season series with their dominant 16-1 win last Friday.
The Marlins have the fifth lowest scoring rate in MLB at 4.14 runs per game and a middle of the pack team ERA at 4.24. If the Brewers played even halfway to their true potential, it shouldn't take them much to make it into the next round with this matchup.
#3 most preferable Wild Card round matchup: Chicago Cubs
Like the Reds, the Cubs also see their playoff hopes on life support with their elimination number for the postseason sitting at just one. It sure felt like Chicago would be joining Milwaukee in the playoffs with how good they were looking after the All-Star break, but the last few weeks now have them right on the edge of heartbreak.
The Brewers need just one more win this weekend to win the season series against the Cubs in 2023. Even more importantly, though, it would completely ruin Chicago's playoff hopes and avoid a potential Wild Card matchup with them.
That is an accomplishment that Milwaukee should really be focusing on achieving this weekend as they should want to avoid a playoff matchup with the Cubs at all costs. Even though the Brewers should be the better team, there is always extra juice that comes with an intradivisional matchup. It could be just the juice that an underachiever would need to pull off an upset.
Least preferable Wild Card round matchup: Arizona Diamondbacks
As much as the Brewers should want to avoid a matchup against the Cubs, the team they should least want to face is the Diamondbacks. Though they are currently in the second Wild Card spot, there is a chance they could slide down to the third spot if the Marlins win out and Arizona does the opposite.
The Brewers lost the season series to the Diamondbacks two games to four this season. A big part of that is Arizona's 1-2 punch at the top of their starting rotation, Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen, who have traditionally had quite a bit of success against Milwaukee in their careers.
Of course, the Diamondbacks wouldn't have an easy go of it themselves, going up against the Crew's Big 3 of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. It would likely be a low-scoring series if these two matched up, and in a series like that, all it takes is one play to swing a series in the wrong direction.
Brewers fans could know which of these matchups they will be watching next week in less than 12 hours or it could be a couple days. Either way, there are certainly matchups that would be more ideal than others.