The 10 games left that will make or break the Brewers’ 2007 season

As Doug Melvin, Ned Yost, Gord Ash, and you and I look at the balance of the 2007 season, we can see that there are 74 games left for the Brewers in the regular season…how many of these they win will ultimately determine whether or not they make the postseason.
But could some games be a little bit more important than others? I think so…so here is my list of “The 10 games left that will make or break the Brewers’ 2007 season,” possibly, in chronological order:

  1. vs. Rockies, 7/13–the first game back after being off for four days (save the All-Star players), and the first chance at redemption after a miserable 3-7 road-trip. Ben Sheets should get the start…but even if he doesn’t, a loss this Friday evening could start some players and coaches to second guess themselves on Saturday and Sunday. The first series of the year against the Rockies also means that pitchers might have a slight edge over the hitters early on in games, so this game should be a good test of how well players have learned to adjust this season.
  2. at Reds, 7/23–the start of an 8-game, 7-day road-trip against division rivals. Ben Sheets should start this game, too, and a win to start off the series sets the tone for the road-trip.
  3. at Cardinals, 7/28, second game–the Brewers’ first doubleheader of the year, and the 17th game in 16 days. This game could determine if any of the players are showing signs of fatigue or not. This make-up game not only will challenge Ned and pitching coach Mike Maddux with the rotation, but also how well the bullpen is holding up. How well the Brewers play the 36 innings within 48 hours will also show some clues as to their mental state.
  4. vs. Mets, 8/02–the rubber match of the home series against the likely NL East champ. A win here could mean a whole lot more confidence should the Crew make the postseason.
  5. at Astros, 8/12–the final game of a 6-game road-trip, against a division rival, in a place where the Brewers have struggled.
  6. at Cubs, 8/28–the first of three at Wrigley against the likely #2 team in the division race; a win sends a message that the Brewers won’t give up; a loss could rattle some players’ confidence.
  7. at Cubs, 8/30–the last of three at Wrigley; the third straight night game is the last chance to give the Cubs a loss, as well as get a boost of confidence.
  8. at Pirates, 9/12–a win at PNC here–even if it is the only win of the series–proves that the Brewers can win games  in places that they’ve struggled in the past…plus a win in either of the other two games would mean a series win on the road, something always needed in September.
  9. at Braves, 9/23–the end of a seven game road-trip, and the fourth against a tough Braves’ team…now, the Brewers are reliant upon other clubs to give losses to any division rivals still in the hunt…but the Crew needs to avoid losses…a win here could mean going above .500 on the road-trip, something that they’ll likely need to do a few times down the stretch.
  10. vs. Padres, 9/28–I’m going to pick the second of four against the Padres as being the pivotal game, as a loss during the first night may not have much bearing on the players’ psyches…but a win after a loss, or a second straight win, against the NL West contender, will have legs for the rest of the series.

Feel free to state your case for any other games that could swing the season.