Are the Brewers Dead?

Another series, another disappointing series loss.  After losing two of three to the Astros, the Brewers now stand at 55-56, 6.5 games behind division-leading St. Louis.  While it’s easy to feel depressed about watching this team every night — they’ve got a -30 run differential and giving up home runs at an alarming rate — it’s still not out of the realm of possibility that this team is around to contend for a playoff spot at the end of the year.

I’ve said before that this team’s likely win cap is 85 — with this group of pitchers and inconsistent bats, winning more than 85 games would take a great deal of luck and a couple hot streaks.  To reach that 85-win mark now, the Brewers will have to go 30-21 in their final 51 games.  In order to win the division at that total, they would need St. Louis and Chicago to finish 21-27 and 26-26, respectively.

While it’s reasonable to think the Cubs could break even to finish the year, it’s much less likely that the Cards will finish 6 games under .500.  It would take a Mets-type collapse in the final weeks for the Brewers to catch up to the Cards, and they Brewers would likely need to win nearly every remaining game they have against them.  Possible?  Sure, the Brewers started the year owning the Cards.  Likely?  Not with St. Louis’ new lineup and a healthy Chris Carpenter.

To go 30-21 in their final 51, the Brewers need to start by beating the teams they’re supposed to beat.  Needless to say, they haven’t been doing  it so far in the second half.  The series win in Los Angeles was their first in a month, despite having series against the likes of Pittsburgh, Washington, and San Diego.  

Entering today, Baseball Prospectus pegged the Brewers’ odds of making the playoffs at 3.8%.  Not very good odds, to say the least — the only teams with worse odds are the Padres, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Reds, Astros, Nationals, and Mets.  To quote Jim Carrey, though…”So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance!”

Hey, no one thought the 2007 Rockies were making the playoffs in August, either.  Stranger things have happened in the last 50 or so games.

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