ESPN’s David Schoenfield On The Brewers | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Sitting down to write an article about yesterday’s shutout victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, I ran across this article from ESPN’s David Schoenfield. It made several worthwhile points, and instead of simply rehashing the points in different verbiage, I thought it prudent to let David’s words do the talking:

Can the Brewers really do this? The Cardinals’ win over the Astros means the Brewers remain 2.5 games behind St. Louis. But they’ve passed the Pirates and passed the Phillies, so only the Dodgers and Cardinals stand between them and the second wild card. Since losing on Aug. 19, they’re now 21-6 and have gone 11-2 against the Pirates, Cardinals and Braves. Over those 27 games they’ve outscored their opponents 161-99, averaging 6.0 runs per game.

The Brewers’ recent stretch has been absolutely phenomenal. Their offense is scoring runs in bunches, and the pitching staff has really turned a corner. Their run differential since August 19 suggests the team is not getting lucky. Instead, they’re simply playing great baseball and pounding any team that stands in their way.

Despite that, Milwaukee still has significant hurdles to overcome. It remains doubtful that the Brewers can make the playoffs. Cool Standings calculates their playoff chances at only 11.5%. It certainly feels as if the Brewers have a better chance because they’re playing so well, but the Cardinals have a huge advantage with their upcoming schedule and a 2.5 game lead.

Gallardo entered with a 7-0 record and 2.98 ERA over his past nine starts, all Brewers’ victories. The Pirates had a chance to get to him in the second inning when he walked two and gave up a single with two outs, but A.J. Burnett was batting. He grounded out and Gallardo settled down, retiring 13 in a row at one point. Gallardo’s curveball has been a key pitch during this stretch as he’d thrown it 187 times during those nine starts and batters were 7-for-42 against it, with 16 strikeouts and no walks in at-bats ending with the pitch. He didn’t use his curve early in the game, relying mostly on his fastball and slider, then turned to the curve more in the middle innings. He also retired Andrew McCutchen all three times he faced him — twice on sliders that resulted in ground outs and a first-pitch fastball that McCutchen lined back to Gallardo.

Much like Nick mentioned yesterday, Gallardo is currently enjoying one of the best stretches of his career. He has quietly anchored this Brewers’ rotation, which has undergone significant changes over the course of the season.

Unsung hero of the Brewers: Their catchers. Led by Jonathan Lucroy’s .324 average, they were hitting a combined .292/.364/.451 with 18 home runs before Tuesday’s game. Lucroy had three of Milwaukee’s 13 hits.

Ryan and I have spoken at length about the Brewers’ embarrassment of riches behind the plate with Lucroy and Maldonado. After going so long without a quality homegrown catcher in Milwaukee, the organization now has two that rose through their minor league ranks in recent years. It’s quite the luxury.

I think the Brewers need to win these next two games in Pittsburgh, take advantage of a reeling Pirates team. You don’t want to head into Washington and Cincinnati having to go 6-1. As is, if we say 86 wins is needed to make the second wild, the Brewers have to go 11-4 over their final 15. I still think the Cards’ schedule is a huge advantage — they have eight more games against Astros and Cubs while the Brewers have just three against the Astros. In the end, I think the Brewers fall a game short. But wouldn’t a three-way tie with Cardinals, Brewers and Dodgers be fun?

Let’s just say … we hope he’s wrong.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Andy says: September 19, 2012

    Ignoring that LA is also still ahead of them, the Brewers need three more wins than St. Louis from here on out in order to win the second Wild Card outright. While it seems likely that 86 wins is the fewest number of wins that it’ll take, it could very well be more. This means an 11-4 finish for Milwaukee is probably the baseline, and 12-3 or even 13-2 could be necessary.

    The Cardinals (78 wins) have 14 games left, with eight against Houston and Chicago, and then six at home in St. Louis to finish the season, against the Reds and Nationals. The Brewers (75 wins), meanwhile, have 15 games left, with two more at Pittsburgh, then seven at Washington and Cincinnati, finishing with six at home against the Padres and Astros. So, not only do the Cardinals have an arguably easier remaining schedule, based on both competition and locale, but the easy/difficult portions of each teams’ schedules are mismatched. If the Brewers hang tight and play well over this tough road trip, they may still be able to make up ground over the final six games as St. Louis finishes with the tougher portion of its schedule. The only problem is staying in striking distance, no easy task when the Brewers are playing the likes of PIT, WASH, and CIN (all on the road) while the Cardinals are playing HOU and CHI.

    Now getting back to LA, the Dodgers (76 wins) have 15 games remaining: 3 at WASH, 3 at CIN, 3 at SD, and then a six game homestand to close the season against COL and SFO. This, in my opinion, is the toughest schedule out of the three. That said, 10 wins or more here, and thus 86 or more wins on the season, is not out of the question either.

    Basically, if the Brewers pull this off, it’ll be borderline miraculous.

    • Stephen says: September 19, 2012

      Remove the qualifier “borderline” and I’ll agree with you. As many have said including myself, if they make it, they sure as hell earned it, and I don’t think anyone would like to see them beat the Braves in the one game play in and make the NLDS. They’d be our baseball version of the 2010 Packers… just sneak in as the hottest team and keep roling.

  2. Bob says: September 19, 2012

    I had written the Brewers off back at the beginning of June. For them to be in this position is fantastic, and even if they fall short I have enjoyed it. With all the AAA call-ups since the trade deadline, the future is bright here in Milwaukee.


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