The Brewers Just Did This in the NL Central for the First Time All Season

No team had done this yet in 2023.
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago White Sox
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago White Sox / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The National League Central division was expected, by most, to be a dogfight between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals this season. While the Crew have indeed been battling for the division lead all year, it has been different teams than the Cardinals coming at them for NL Central supremacy.

First, it was the Pittsburgh Pirates who surprised everyone by competing early for the lead in the NL Central. Eventually, though, they faded and are now hanging out with the Cardinals in the division's cellar.

Then, it was the Cincinnati Reds who announced that they were now a force to be reckoned with. They wrestled with the Brewers over the division lead but, after the trade deadline, have taken a bit of a step back.

Most recently, the Chicago Cubs shook off their early season malaise and began to stake their own claim in the NL Central. They came close to temporarily knocking the Brewers off their pedestal, but haven't quite been able to finish that job just yet.

With divisional foes creeping up behind them like they have all season, the Brewers just went into the Windy City and swept the White Sox this past weekend. As a result, the Brewers came out of Sunday accomplishing a feat that, oddly enough, no NL Central team had accomplished yet in 2023.

After Sunday's games, the Brewers became the first NL Central team to hold a lead of three or more games all season.

Yes, you read that correctly. The top of the NL Central has been so close this season that no single team had held a lead of even three games at any point so far during the 2023 season. And that was with three different teams having held the lead at various times this year.

As it currently stands, the Brewers are up three and a half games on both the Cubs and Reds in the NL Central. Chicago just took two out of three from the Blue Jays but had lost a series to the Mets prior to that. The Reds saw a similar fate last week, winning a series against the Pirates after dropping one to the Marlins.

Before Sunday, the largest lead the Brewers had mustered was 2.5 games and they didn't even get to that point for the first time in 2023 until July 18th. They held a 2.5-game lead for six combined days this season before finally breaking that three-game lead barrier on Sunday.

Two other NL Central teams have held division leads this year but never got past a three-game lead either. The Pirates were in first for 33 total days in 2023 but never held more than a 1.5-game lead. The Reds also did for 32 days but never led by more than two games.

Now, the Brewers will see if they can hold or stretch that lead, but it will be a struggle as they are about to play two very tough teams in the Dodgers and Rangers on the road. Meanwhile, the Cubs have home series against the White Sox and Royals this week and the Reds host the Guardians and Blue Jays.

No one ever said that winning a division title was easy. Never has that been more apparent than in the NL Central this season.