Brewers play-off baseball is right around the corner. It is an exciting time of the year and 2021 marks the fourth consecutive season that the Crew has been able to play meaningful baseball in October. This year, they drew the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS in what should be an exciting matchup.
At 95 wins, the Brewers won the NL Central Division Title. On the other hand, the Braves wrapped up the NL East Title with 88 wins. During the regular season, the Brewers pitching staff was historically good whereas the Braves relied more so on a high powered offense.
With all that being said, let’s take a look at three bold predictions for the upcoming NLDS.
1) The Brewers Hit More Home Runs Than The Braves
One key for the Brewers to win this series is to limit the amount of home runs that the Braves hit. However, what if they end up hitting more home runs than the Braves? On paper it seems unlikely seeing how the Braves had four players with 30+ home runs and had the third most long balls in the league. The Brewers failed to have one 30 home run player.
One caveat to remember is that the Brewers dealt with injuries quite frequently during the season. Star Christian Yelich battled a back injury early on and is yet to find his power stroke. Avisail Garcia finished one home run shy of 30 and might have reached the benchmark had he not been used sparingly down the stretch of the season. Luis Urias also displayed more than expected power, but often times found his role and playing time changing.
With no further need to rest players for health reasons, Craig Counsell is going to throw out his best lineups every night. It would be nice to see a multi home run series from any player, particularly Christian Yelich. If his bat gets going than the entire complexion of the Brewers offense changes. This Brewers lineup does have sneaky power depth so perhaps they can beat the Braves at what their offense does best which is hit home runs.
2) Josh Hader Appears In Every Game
Prior to 2021, Josh Hader had been used in a variety of ways. In his earlier years, he was a multi inning reliever that served as a bridge to the closer. He later then transitioned into a multi inning closer. Most recently in 2021, he has shifted into a one inning closer role. This has allowed him to appear in more consecutive games when needed.
For example, four times this year Hader was used in three consecutive games without a break. He appeared in back to back games a total of 18 times as well. The Brewers put a big emphasis on using him only in tie game or save situations in order to secure wins and it paid off to the tune of 34 saves.
With Devin Williams out due to injury, other bullpen pitchers will have to step up. However, Hader may have to be utilized more often as well. Reports have indicated that it is unlikely that Hader will throw multiple innings per game this post season. However, that does not mean he won’t make more frequent appearances. This is play-off baseball and games are expected to be close, so I would not be surprised to see Hader appear in every game this series.
Josh Hader on why returning to a multi-inning role isn’t the solution to the loss of Devin Williams: “The last time I did it was 2019. My saying is, ‘Why fix something that isn’t broken?’ I feel like that’s what we have here. It’s been working.” https://t.co/EW09YYkwPm
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) October 7, 2021
3) Willy Adames Delivers A Big Hit
By now you should be familiar with the story of Adames and how much he has meant to this Brewers team. Since being acquired, the Crew won 74 games and lost just 44. He has an energy that is contagious and he quite simply turned this team around.
Adames is also undoubtedly the offensive MVP of this years team. He finished the year with 25 home runs in total. Time and time again he came up with big hits to help win ball games. Most remember his epic bat flip against the Chicago Cubs after hitting a go-ahead home run, but there were so many more moments as well.
With being such an electric player, it would make sense that Adames would be the one to deliver a big hit late in a ballgame. In 2018 it was mid-season acquisition Mike Moustakas who hit a walk off single in the play-offs, so look for Adames to be that man in 2021.
The Brewers and Braves are set to square off in game one on Friday October 8th. First pitch is at 3:37 CT.