On September 2nd, the Milwaukee Brewers were five games back of the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central Division. At this point I went on the record and said the Brewers would not chase the Cubs down for first and are playing for that first wildcard spot. I also said I hope I was wrong. Fast forward to October 1st. After a 20-7 run, that included winning their last 8 games, the Brewers not only ran the Cubs down, they overtook them. In game 163 of their 2018 MLB season, the Brewers beat the Cubs 3-1, to win the NL Central Division. I was wrong and gladly accept the humble pie as a result.
This run was improbable for most. (Except for everyone in that Brewers locker room.) In order to pull this off, the Brewers had to be virtually flawless and also hope for a little help in the form of the Cubs stumbling a bit. I’d say that is exactly what happened. The Crew won two-of-three from the Pittsburgh Pirates, swept a 3-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, (clinched a postseason berth in the process) swept the Detroit Tigers series, and wrapped up the Central in a pressure packed one game tiebreaker against the Cubs. The Brewers got hot when it mattered most.
Of all five Brewers team that have made the postseason in their fifty year history, this is the best one. (Although ’82 wasn’t shabby. World Series squad.) They are built for success in the postseason. Their starters can go at least five innings of quality ball, their bullpen is virtually lights out and shortens the game, their offense can slug it out and have now shown they can manufacture runs. Craig Counsell has managed this deep team, beautifully.
Now comes the hard part; reducing this roster back to 25 and winning in the postseason. No matter who makes the postseason roster, the goal remains the same as is how they go about obtaining that goal. It’s been one hell of a ride so far and this division crown is just a start. Everyone had a hand in this division championship. The same way they’ll all have a hand in any postseason success.