With nine games to go, the Milwaukee Brewers could be as much as 3 ½ games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot come Monday night after their loss to the Washington Nationals.
The Brewers will play a critical three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds this week. If Milwaukee wants any chance at a postseason berth, they must sweep Cincinnati.
The Brewers must be mentally prepared for the Reds and willing to do whatever it takes to win all three games. There is a good chance Cincinnati will not be playing nearly as hard considering they recently clinched the NL Central division. However, that does not mean they still will not play to win.
St. Louis currently has nine games left on their schedule and plays the Houston Astros for a three-game series starting Monday night. After the Astros, the Cardinals have to play the Nationals and the Reds for their six remaining games. These are two NL division winners with a combined record of 184-121.
Milwaukee, on the other hand, will play Houston and the San Diego Padres over that span. Those two teams sit at the bottom half of their respected divisions and hold a combined record of 123-183. This is almost the complete opposite of what St. Louis will be facing, which means statistically Milwaukee will have a better chance of ending the season with the better record.
The Brewers are playing outstanding baseball against playoff contenders, which is a good sign of a team prepared to compete in the postseason. However, Milwaukee must get there first before they go on a World Series run as St. Louis did last year.
In the month of September, the Brewers are 12-3 against teams with a record above .500. They must make that 15-3 by Thursday afternoon; otherwise, they may never get the opportunity to prove how good they really are this season. Winning is the name of the game and Milwaukee is currently doing everything in their power to stay alive.
The loss against the Nationals can be overcome only if the Brewers do not lose a game for the rest of the regular season. If Milwaukee drops even one over the next nine games, it will be nearly impossible to get ahead of St. Louis.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.