The Milwaukee Brewers have reached the gut-check part of the season. They’ve been up and down throughout the season but find themselves in first place in the division with 15 series remaining. With the lead in the division being 2.5 games over both the Cubs and Reds as of writing this, every series is important but these three may carry more weight than the others.
Los Angeles Dodgers (August 15th-17th)
The Milwaukee Brewers kick off a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers next week. Losing the series isn’t a season-ender by any means, but it’s a good barometer to see where this Brewers team is. Their rotation is finally healthy, the offense has been showing signs of life and the positive vibes appear to be back.
If the Crew want to make a run in the postseason, they’ll likely have to face and beat this Dodgers team at some point. After getting beat up by the Braves coming out of the All-Star break, it would be good to see the Brewers take some games off of one of the best teams in the National League.
Sure, Milwaukee needs wins, in general, to keep their lead in the division, but this series kicks off a difficult closing stretch on the schedule. A good result and this team may feel like they can hang with the big boys. An ugly couple of losses and those good vibes could be removed just as quickly as they showed up.
St. Louis Cardinals (September 18th-21st)
The Milwaukee Brewers are 11 games up on the Cardinals at the moment. Although crazy late-season runs have happened, it doesn’t appear as though the Cards have it in them this season. Although they likely won’t be pushing the Brewers for the division title or a wild card spot, this series will be extremely important.
The Cardinals may be having a down year, but it’s very much so unexpected. This team was supposed to be competitive and they just never got the tires turning. As disappointing as that is for their fans, the team can still play spoiler down the stretch of the season.
Having an opportunity to ruin things for a division rival is about as good as it gets for a team in that spot. The series is four games long and in St. Louis. On top of that, the Cards have always seemed to give the Brewers problems. The record isn’t there for the Cardinals, but the confidence against the Brewers likely will be.
Finally, that series kicks off the last two weeks of the season. A series win for the Milwaukee Brewers, and they are likely in a decent spot. A series loss and things could be tough over the last three series of the season. A lot will depend on how the team plays between now and then, but that four-game set looks like it could be crucial.
Chicago Cubs (September 29th-October 1st)
This choice may seem like a cop-out but it very easily could be the most important series of the whole season. The Reds have been a good story this season but they are likely a year or two away from being a true threat. The Cubs on the other hand have young talent paired with veteran players that have a ton of experience in the post-season.
Chicago has been surging after a mediocre first couple of months of the season and looks like the biggest threat to the Milwaukee Brewers. These two teams play earlier in the schedule to close out August but the matchup to close out the season easily wins in terms of importance.
Neither team looks like it’ll fade out of contention any time soon but I also don’t see either team pulling away. The Cubs and Brewers will have to navigate difficult closing schedules to get to that final series with a chance to win the division.
Depending on how the other 14 series play out before that point, a wild card spot could be in play as well which adds another layer of importance to the series. No matter how you cut it, post-season implications are all over a series that already carries the weight of divisional rivalry.
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