MILWAUKEE — The Brewers continue their series in St. Louis Tuesday night. They lost 1-0 Monday night as Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals picked up his 200th career victory.
With less than two weeks left in the regular season, the Brewers are closing in on the National League Central Division title. Their magic number to win the division is seven.
I talked with veteran Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy of MLB.com for Spectrum News. Here’s some of that conversation:
Dennis: How have the Brewers done this?
Adam: They came into the season talking about being a pitching and defense team, and they’ve been a pitching and defense team. I think probably the defense has been better than we expected. Maybe we weren’t playing close enough attention in spring training when they talked about the group that they were going to field. They’ve scored just enough.
I think the promising thing for the Brewers is that they’ve been scoring more consistently since the trade deadline. They picked up Carlos Santana, the veteran first baseman, and Mark Canha and those two hitters have really made an impact on the offense.
If they score just a little bit, they are a very formidable team in a short postseason series.
Dennis: There’s a new playoff format this year. Let’s just go with the assumption the Brewers will win their division. In that first round they would be at home exclusively, right?
Adam: Barring something crazy happening in the last remaining days of the regular season, it looks like they will host a best of three postseason series. The one team that really I would not want to face if I were the Brewers is the Arizona Diamondbacks with Zach Gallen, a Cy Young contender, and Merrill Kelly a great number two. Those two are just as formidable for an opponent as Burnes and Woodruff going into a short series. The weirdest scenario is they win the division, they play the Cubs in those three games that don’t really matter. Then, they play the Cubs at American Family Field. Stay and play them in three more games in which everything’s on the line.
That would be a very bizarre scenario, but it’s one that’s in play right now.
Dennis: How far can this team go?
Adam: Look, that’s the that’s the thing about the baseball postseason. The theory the Brewers have operated on in the last five years or so is to get in the playoffs as many times as you can and give yourself a shot. Because in baseball, I suppose there’s the lottery theory of baseball’s postseason. It’s different than the NFL playoffs. It’s different than the NBA playoffs. You don’t know what’s going to happen when two good baseball teams play a best of five, even a best of seven series. There are no guarantees.
So, how far this team can go? It can go all the way. There’s nothing to say that they can’t go all the way. They have very good pitching. And I think, if you’ve been very closely watching some of these recent games, they have been playing with some urgency to try to lock this thing up and win the division. But they’ve also been playing with October in mind a little bit.
If you look the way Craig Counsell has managed workload for his relievers. I was just looking at this today, guys like Devin Williams, Joel Payamps, Elvis Peguero, now Abner Uribe. There have been some back to back appearances, but they’re not pushing these guys three in a row. They’re rarely pushing them three of four. They’re trying to get everybody to a place where they’re fresh when the postseason begins.