Brewers, it's a small step....
It’s a step in the right direction; albeit a small step, but it’s a step nonetheless. The Brewers won two out of three games against Pittsburgh Pirates, who entered the series leading the Central Division. The losses to the Brewers, coupled with the Cincinnati Reds’ six-game winning streak, have dropped the Pirates into second place. The Brewers went into the series at the crossroads of their season. With three straight series against teams in the Central Division, the Brewers could not afford to play poorly coming out of the All-Star break. If the team did not fare well, it could certainly spell the end of any chance the Brewers would have at surpassing their interdivision rivals.
However, now that the Brewers have done their job against the Pirates, the team must now turn its attention towards the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals come into town having been swept by the Reds. It may seem a bit much to suggest that the Brewers absolutely must win the series against the Cardinals. That is exactly what the Brewers must do. In fact, the team must win a majority of their games for the rest of the year if they expect to reach the playoffs for the second consecutive season. It’s a tall order, but it’s the only way that the Brewers will be able to turn their season around.
After the Cardinals series, the Brewers will travel to Cincinnati to face the division-leading Reds. The Reds will be without All-Star first baseman Joey Votto, who tore cartilage in his left knee and will be out of action for at least the next three weeks. If the Brewers can capitalize on the Reds’ misfortune and win a series on the road, they put themselves in position to gain even more ground in the Central Division.
The Brewers finish out the month of July with a road series against the disappointing Philadelphia Phillies before returning home to face the most surprising team in the National League in the form of the Washington Nationals. A series against the Houston Astros takes the Brewers up to the July 31 st trade deadline. The two weeks will determine a lot for the Milwaukee Brewers. If the team continues to win series, they may look to add a player. But, if the Pirate’s series was nothing more than an aberration, it’s more than likely that the team will shed players and shift the focus to next year.
By: Scott Kasten
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