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Brewers ability to win in September key to their playoff chase

Brewers ability to win in September key to their playoff chase

Even though the months of April through October, sometimes with March added in as well, dictate the overall outcome of an MLB team’s regular-season record, do not tell the Brewers that. If they played every month of the season as they do in the month of September, this team would become one of the best to ever do it.

In both 2018 and 2019, manager Craig Counsell seems to get the best out of his Brewers team, which is the time that they need it the most. From chasing playoff positioning to getting players in position for playing time and personal accolades, the ninth month of the year is a very busy one for MLB teams.

In the team’s first 15 games during last season’s very impressive postseason run, the Brewers won 10 and only lost 5, which is very difficult to do. Having chased down their divisional counterparts to force a game 163, the Brewers were able to catch up to the Chicago Cubs, tie them as the regular-season ended, travel to Wrigley Field for a rare game 163 tiebreaker and come home with the title.

In 2019, the team has put together an even stronger 15-game stretch to begin the month of September, winning 12 of their first 15 on their way to getting back into playoff contention. Still sitting behind the Cubs and division-leading St. Louis Cardinals for the Central, and behind both the Cubs and the Wild Card-leading Washington Nationals for the play-in game, the end goal is still very much achievable for this upstart franchise looking to crash the postseason party.

Even with 2018 NL Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich going down with a season-ending knee cap injury, this team has rallied around their fallen superstar, stringing together impressive series against all the teams that they have faced in September. Another important facet working in the favor of the team is that for the remainder of their schedule, they do not play against another above-.500 team on their schedule.

They are in the midst of a four-game series with the San Diego Padres, and their 2019 home series schedule wraps up with a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Brewers finish up on the road, traveling to the Cincinnati Reds for three before finishing out their season on Sept. 29 in the conclusion of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies, whom they eliminated from the NL Divisional Series last season.

With Yelich down, the likes of Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas and Ryan Braun have been stepping up at the plate – Grandal has been drawing walks like its cool, the Moose hit two home runs in a game against the Miami Marlins to help win a game and Braun went deep on a full-count, two-out pitch down one run against the Cardinals in St. Louis, sending a grand slam over the wall in left-center field.

Pitching-wise, closer Josh Hader has been dominant over the past month-plus for the team out of the bullpen, and others, like Ray Black, Jay Jackson, Matt Albers, as well as starters Jordan Lyles and Zach Davies, have all been shoring up their weaknesses over the final stretch for this team.

Even if they do fall short in their quest for the playoffs, this Brewers team will be remembered as one that did not give up, even when the deck was stacked against them, fighting until the very end. The rest of the NL should be very aware of where this team is in the standings because they have nothing to lose and they are playing like it too.

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