The Milwaukee Brewers currently hold first place by 1.5 games, but they missed an opportunity to take control of the NL Central division.
Back on July 19, I wrote an article about the Milwaukee Brewers coming into a pivotal stretch of 11 games against fellow National League contending teams. Those upcoming games were finishing a series against the Philadelphia Phillies, two sets against the Atlanta Braves, and a series against the Cincinnati Reds. At that time, they were 2.5 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds atop the NL Central division.
During that stretch, they played a mediocre 5-6 record, falling out of first place by 0.5 games. Up until the final series against the Braves, their pitching staff held up well, only giving up 22 runs in the first eight games. However, they faltered heavily against the potent offense the Braves possess, getting swept in an overpowering way by giving up 10, 11, and eight runs, all in losing efforts.
Moving on past those games, they went 3-4 in their next two series. They lost the series against the Washington Nationals and split the one against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Two losses were also sustained via walk-offs, which was even more deflating.
Yesterday (Tuesday), they won 12-1 against a feeble Colorado Rockies team.
By finishing 9-10 over this 19-game period, they failed to separate themselves to fellow division contenders and even found themselves looking up in the standings periodically. Luckily, they find themselves 1.5 games ahead in the division due to fellow NL Central opponents beating up on each other. The Cincinnati Reds just lost six in a row, three of which were against the Chicago Cubs.
They should not look back though; the Cubs are right behind them, winning 14 of their last 19 games in the same time period, picking up a quick five games on the Brew Crew.
The reason the Milwaukee Brewers missed an opportunity to take control of the NL Central is if they went 11-8, instead of 9-10, is they would be 3.5 games up. That hypothetical lead might not sound like much, but that would be the largest lead they would have been able to hold the division with all season.
Fast forwarding ahead, I can see them coming right down to the wire with the Cubs, who are clearly hot on their trail. I find it hard to believe that the Reds can hold onto the pace, but they also do not have any head-to-head coming up with them so neither team can hurt each other in the race.
Mark on your calendars for August 28-30 when the Brew Crew role into the north side of Chicago in a pivotal showdown. The two familiar foes also end the season against one another in a three-game set September 29-October 1 in Milwaukee. It should be a fun finish.