The Milwaukee Brewers are positioning themselves for a deep playoff run as the regular season winds down. That being said, there are still some bumps in the road ahead of the Brewers as October nears. These are the biggest threats to a potential championship run for the Brew Crew.
Like the other professional sports leagues in the United States, the postseason has many possible outcomes. When it comes to a win-or-go-home scenario, clubs may surprise fans by taking down a better team. The opposite is true, as well, as other teams could collapse under the pressure of the underdog club.
The Brewers are as great as any other team this season, having one of the best records in baseball. If and when they make it to the World Series, they will have to go against the best team in the American League to fight for a title.
One of these formidable AL teams is the Chicago White Sox. Chicago is currently 76-56 and in first place in the AL Central division. The team is powered by many all-star sluggers, including Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, José Abreu, and Eloy Jimenez. They also have a strong starting rotation led by Lance Lynn, Carlos Rodon, and Lucas Giolito. Anchored by Liam Hendriks in the bullpen, Chicago has an intimidating strong roster on paper that matches up well with Milwaukee’s. A World Series matchup between the two teams would be nothing short of exciting. Other AL teams that could give the Brewers a tough match are the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees, and the Tampa Bay Rays.
To get to the American League, though, the Brewers need to beat the strongest teams of the National League. Specifically in the NL West division, Milwaukee would be forced to face one of, possibly both of, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. These two teams are right on top with the Brewers as the best in the NL. A massive bloodbath between these three teams is imminent in October. A surprise, in-division, foe that could raise some issues down the stretch is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are entering September as one of the hottest teams in the league, and with their star-studded hitting corps of Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, and Joey Votto, the Reds could cause some trouble late into this season.
Injuries and Slumps
The Brewers have been bitten by the injury bug multiple times this season. COVID-19 forced multiple members of the roster to sit for two weeks in June and July. Along with that, players like Daniel Vogelbach, Freddy Peralta, and Willy Adames have missed time due to physical injury as of late. While the Brewers have not slowed down because of these issues just yet, the possibility is ever-present in the organization as the clock winds down on the season.
Slumping players can also hinder team success just as much as injuries can. First baseman Keston Hiura has barely played this season due to a very long slump. Former MVP Christian Yelich is finally starting to turn his season around right now, but struggled mightily earlier this season.
One final impediment to a potential championship in Milwaukee is theoretical over-management. Manager Craig Counsell has cemented his legacy in Milwaukee’s history already, but that does not mean he can’t make mistakes either. Counsell is known for pioneering the use of the “opener” to start games on the mound, yet also pitched Wade Miley for one batter in Game Five of the 2018 NLCS. Gimmicks happen, and with Counsell, they appear to work out at a greater rate than most managers, but he isn’t completely protected from making ill-informed decisions.
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