MLB Wild Card: 5 Players That Must Step Up For The Milwaukee Brewers To Clinch
5 Players That Must Step Up For The Milwaukee Brewers To Make Playoffs
The Milwaukee Brewers took two out of four from the Washington Nationals to at least stay in contention for the second National League Wild Card spot with nine games to go. However, the St. Louis Cardinals could be up as much as 3 ½ games by Monday night.
The Brewers have done a phenomenal job of winning games over the past month to come within striking distance of a postseason berth with a little over a week remaining in the season. Everyone involved in baseball had the Brewers ruled out but their historic charge has made believers out of many.
If Milwaukee wants to win the next nine games and clinch the last NL Wild Card spot, they will need everyone involved with the team to step their game up to a level it has never been before. Players are going to have to concentrate harder and simply play smarter.
Obviously, everyone has already stepped up otherwise the Brewers would not be where they currently are in the standings. However, a few players must play even better if Milwaukee wants a legitimate shot. The following slides are five specific players that must step up in order for the Brewers to make the playoffs.
Players like Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, and Yovani Gallardo obviously need to keep playing at a high level but they are not on the list. The five players mentioned are men that have played well but need to go the extra distance to give Milwaukee a fighting chance.
Michael Fiers has the best earned run average on the team among starters who have played in more than four games. Fiers has done some great things this season, including pitching 10 consecutive games in which he did not allow more than two earned runs. However, Fiers has fallen off for the most part in his last eight outings, which is something Milwaukee cannot have this time of year. Fiers must buckle down and pitch one last phenomenal outing we all know he is capable of doing.
Shaun Marcum has pitched well for the most part this season but has not been the same since returning from the disabled list after right shoulder soreness. Marcum has yet to record a win in six starts since his stint on the DL and has given up four earned runs in three consecutive games in that span. The 31-year-old right-hander is showing signs of fatigue as he did in last year’s postseason meltdown. Marcum assured the fans and media he took the necessary steps to be ready to pitch in the playoffs. However, if he does not give two more quality starts between now and the first week of October, there will be no postseason.
Carlos Gomez has been outstanding on the base paths stealing a team-high 35 bases. However, his batting average (.254) and on-base percentage (.300) have dropped off dramatically over the past few weeks. Gomez is still a solid defender – as long as he keeps the sun out of his eyes – but needs to start figuring out a way to get on base again. Milwaukee needs his speed on offense, as well as, defense to help change the outcome of games in their favor. However, if he continues to slump at the plate the Brewers will have no choice but to play Logan Schafer in center.
Rickie Weeks has really picked up his game in the second half of the season, but still needs to do plenty more to help the team make a run at a postseason berth. After batting .281 with six home runs and 12 RBIs in the 23 games prior to Sept. 14, he has collected just one homer, and five RBIs in the 10 games since. Those are still decent numbers but they need to be better if he wants to be a reason the Brewers are playing for a chance at a World Series berth.
Corey Hart could be the one exception to the rule because he is playing with an injury and has continued to do a lot to help the team win. However, just like Braun and Ramirez, the Brewers desperately need Hart to play at the highest level possible. He is known for slowing this time of year as he historically has not played well in late September and October. Hart has struggled since taking his two week hiatus, but still has nine games to play up to his ability.
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