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Fri, July 18, 2014

I don't like the Brewers chances in the 2nd half



I know I ruffled the feathers of Brewer fans earlier this weekend when I said the team’s playoff chances were “toast.” 

Some saw this as a reaction to the last couple of weeks before the All-Star break where the team went 2-11.  While that has something to do with it (not much in all honesty), it’s not the biggest reason by any means.  I wasn’t sold on this team heading into the season and even when they were 19-games over .500, I thought they should be pushing their chips to the middle of the table, make a move and go all-in because I wasn’t convinced they were a championship team.  They didn’t and my thought hasn’t moved a whole lot.  Now they head to the 2nd half of the season with a slim lead in the division.

That brings me to my comments.  The main reasoning for this is trying to accurately gauge how good this team is.  Are they the team that lost 11 of 13?  Absolutely not!  Are they the team that was 19-games over .500 at one point?  I can’t say they are.  The Brewers are a good team.  Not sure that will be enough to make it to October.

Let’s look at the division race:

Standings
• Milwaukee (53-43)
• St. Louis (52-44) – 1 GB
• Cincinnati (51-44) – 1.5 GB
• Pittsburgh (49-46) – 3.5 GB
• Cubs…well, they are out of it and this will be the last mention of that…

Who plays who?
• Milwaukee:  St. Louis (10), Cincinnati (9), Pittsburgh (6)
• St. Louis: Milwaukee (10), Cincinnati (10), Pittsburgh (6)
• Cincinnati: Milwaukee (9), St. Louis (10), Pittsburgh (6)
• Pittsburgh: Milwaukee (6), St. Louis (6), Cincinnati (6)

How about other teams in the playoff race (.500 or above)?
• Milwaukee: Washington (3), L.A Dodgers (6), San Francisco (6), Toronto (2),
• St. Louis: L.A Dodgers (3), Baltimore (3)
• Cincinnati: NY Yankees (3), Washington (3), Cleveland (4), Atlanta (4), Baltimore (3)
• Pittsburgh: L.A Dodgers (3), San Francisco (3) , Detroit (4), Washington (3) Atlanta (7)

Thoughts on each team?
• Milwaukee:  Easily the toughest schedule of the bunch.  42 of 66 against teams in playoff position.  They are the healthiest team.
• St. Louis: Easily the weakest schedule of the bunch.  Stretch of 8-straight vs Cincy and Milwaukee in early September will be key. 
• Cincinnati:  Lots of division games and 42 of 67 against playoff contenders…however, Yankees and Cleveland make up 7 of those games as .500 teams.  Votto and Phillips injuries to overcome.
• Pittsburgh: Overall, a tough spot.  38 of 67 against playoff teams but not a lot verse division to make up ground there.  May need a big streak or a couple of free falls.

Obviously, those numbers go both ways.  If you play well, you do double damage because a team that is chasing you (or you are chasing) loses ground.  But, you can flip the script with bad play as we saw from Milwaukee the last two weeks.

I think the rest of July will be key for the Brewers.  They start with Washington and Cincinnati before taking on the Mets and Rays, non-playoffs teams.  The beginning of August is BRUTAL!  If they can get a cushion heading into that month, it will go a long way to their playoff chances.

Can Milwaukee make the post season?  Of course they can.  I just think the deck is stacked against them.  I will say 83-79, 3rd in the division and no Wild Card.

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