While not desirable at all compared to sniffing the pennant chase, at 48-56 the Brewers could at least play the spoiler role in the last couple months this season. The chance to play spoiler is the consolation prize that comes with being in the ‘second division’ part of the NL Central. The Milwaukee Brewers have 34 games left against NL Central foes, though 13 of those are against the woeful Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros.
This will be the farewell tour of sorts for the Astros. We won’t see them nearly as often next year as they start their new life as part of the AL West. I feel for Astros fans in the sense that they’re losing the NL style of play there after 50 years. The Brewers and Astros have had a pretty meek rivalry over the years, although it has had its hot spots. I don’t think I’ll miss seeing them that much, although the Brewers may miss beating them up so many times a year as they’ve done recently. Houston always seemed so far away from the rest of the NL Central. I wish the Astros luck in their new division. They’re going to need it.
The Brewers still have nine games against the Pittsburgh Pirates, six against the Cincinnati Reds, and six against the St. Louis Cardinals, starting with a three-game series Friday. That makes for 21 games in which they could put a hurting on wannabe NL-Central winners. Those 21 games give the Brewers a good chance to vent some steam, have fun, and maybe even deprive a rival of success. I just can’t help but feel positive vibes from the Pirates’ story. They’re finally seeing the team coalesce on the field and in the standings. The fans are having a good time with it. A.J. Burnett has been a big pickup for them, and some of their young guys are showing some serious staying power. I’m used to seeing Pittsburgh in the spoiler role the last many, many years. Now they get to be part of the fun stuff and I hope they take it all the way. If not, my runoff candidate would be the Reds. I’m sorry, St. Louis. I got no love for ya. You’ve had your fun and plenty of it.
If the now free-and-easy Milwaukee Brewers can start this weekend and do some damage against the Cards, it will ease my frustration with the 2012 season. I look forward to seeing what the team can do now that there’s no pressure to get back in the race. There will be auditions in the coming weeks, and potentially a waiver trade or a pickup. But I’d like to see the team finish strong and focus on winning some ballgames. Hopefully they’ll particularly come together when winning would have negative effects for division opponents, but also for NL contenders they’ll face like the Washington Nats and Atlanta Braves. If they were asked, the players would say they’re all ‘just another game’. But I have no doubt that the Brewers would like to do their part to keep those Cards and Redlegs out of the postseason. The last day of the season was amazing in 2011. That cataclysmic event doesn’t occur without the spoilers chipping away at other teams’ records.