Brewers Inching Closer in NL Central Race
After a slue of trades to upgrade the infield, defense, and bolster their pitching, the Brewers are 15 games away from officially knowing their fate for the Postseason. How they did this was through a couple of acquisitions in Mike Moustakas from the Royals, former Oriole Jonathan Schoop, Curtis Granderson, and Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez. And it has paid off great dividends for The Crew as they have won their last seven series including taking four of their final six games against the Cubs.
Speaking of the latter, Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels commented that there isn’t really a rivalry between the Brewers and Chicago since there would be 90% Cubs fans and 10% Brewers fans both at The Friendly Confines and Miller Park. Well, judging by how well the Brewers did against the Cubbies and the fact that they are 1.5 games back of them in the NL Central, it looks like this “rivalry” may be exhibited once more this Postseason.
Now if the season were to end today, the Brewers would end up as a Wild Card and would host the St Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Game at Miller Park. The winner of that game would go to Wrigley Field to face the Cubs in the NLDS. This would be the best case scenario for Milwaukee if they were to win the Wild Card Game given that they took two of three from the Cubs during their final series at Wrigley Field. And let’s not forget what The Crew did against Jose Quintana (evil laugh). A leadoff home run by Lorenzo Cain plus two 2 run home runs from Ryan Braun helped the Brewers win a 7-0 shutout at Wrigley Field in mid-August. The split and series win in the Brewers’ final two series at Wrigley Field is proof that they can win NLDS games both at home and on the road.
And now with no more games to play in the regular season against the Cubs, the Brewers will have to rely on their own wins and get some help from the Cubs in the form of some losses. The remaining schedule for The Crew consists of a six game homestand against the Pirates and Reds with their final road trip taking them to Pittsburgh for three games and St Louis for three games. The Brewers’ final home series and their final series overall will be against the Tigers on the final weekend in September. As for the Cubs, the only NL contenders they will have to face in the final stretch will be the Diamondbacks in a road series at Chase Field and their final home series against the Cardinals. Other than that, Chicago will have two home series against the Reds and Pirates plus a crosstown showdown when they visit the southside of Chicago and play the White Sox.
I have called this rivalry many names throughout the season including dogfight, war, and of course, David Vs Goliath. It all comes down to this. We are 18 days to the Postseason and it will be a fight to the finish for these two NL Central squads. 15 games for the Brewers versus 16 games for the Cubs. The word rivalry is an understatement for these two when it comes to September baseball. The pennant chase is on for the Brewers and Cubs and it will take one key game during these last series for one team to fall into second place and for the other o take the division crown.
September baseball is for the last minute Postseason push. But for the Cubs and Brewers, October baseball is where the real fun begins.