It was a pillowy comfort to see the Brewers take two of three against the Giants and Dodgers on the recent homestand. After the last road series in St. Louis crumbled from potential catharsis to veritable cataclysm (because Cardinals, and oblique injuries), it was easy to predict the Brew Crew would continue their water tread and fail to win series against the NL West powers that were heading to Miller Park. Thankfully, the Brewers took care of business this past week and actually had a fleeting chance or two to sweep.
The main thing to take away, however, is that they took two of three games in each series. That’s what they gotta do: win series. Sounds simple, but the Brewers haven’t been doing that much series-winning since early July. Tonight they’ll try to avoid a letdown against the Cubs. This Cubs series is important not only because it represents four winnable games against a bad team, but because the Brewers have a chance to build something that could plug the team’s holes for the rest of the season. A game or two picked up on their rivals now is vital, particularly with games starting to quickly disappear off the regular-season schedule.
The Cardinals got blasted in the first two games of their series with the Orioles this past weekend, and the Brewers picked up some ground on them. That series loss to the Orioles shows how quickly things can change in the Brewers’ favor. Granted, the Orioles are a first-place club in a tough division, but if the Brewers can rattle off a winning streak in Chicago, they could find the gap between themselves and the Cardinals yawn a little bit.
On the flipside, if they let things get away from them on the North Side, they could lose ground to their rivals just as easily. Perhaps fortuitously, the Pirates and Reds face difficult matchups this week in the Tigers and Red Sox, respectively.
The NL Central race will likely teeter-totter back and forth for a while, measured by the distance of fewer than a handful of games. Unless. Unless a team can take advantage of the stumbling of its rivals and win some games in a hurry, a startling boost of rocket fuel. This week could see that. Though they face the formidable Dodgers again on the weekend which could quickly correct any imbalance, the Brewers could pick up some ground here this week as the Cardinals face the crazy Marlins in Miami. Conversely, the Brewers get the relative comfort of a series at Wrigley Field, where hopefully they’ll hear their fans hooting and hollering in a positive fashion, turning Wrigley into a friendly atmosphere. If you can get down to Wrigley, just do it.
Two outta three ain’t bad. Two outta three would be another 28 victories, which would put the Brewers at 93 wins and into the playoffs in all likelihood. Not bad at all. Sounds like a plan.