Brewers playoff chase primer: Big series with Cardinals looms

September 20, 2018

The good news since we ran last week's playoff chase primer is that Milwaukee now has a 99.3 percent chance to make the postseason (up from 98 percent) according to Fangraphs, and the Brewers also gained a half-game in the wild card (and now with fewer games remaining).

The bad news is Milwaukee's deficit in the NL Central went from one game to two-and-a-half (and also now with fewer games remaining) and Fangraphs has the Brewers with an 89.9 percent chance to win a wild card and 9.4 percent to take the division (last week it was 71.8 percent and 26.2 percent).


Cubs 89 63 -- 10
Brewers 87 66 2.5 9
Cardinals 84 69 5.5 9


(note: bolded teams are division leaders)

Cubs 89 63 +5.5 10
Brewers 87 66 +3 9
Dodgers 85 68 +1 9
Braves 84 68 +.5 10
Cardinals 84 69 -- 9
Rockies 82 70 1.5 10
Phillies 78 73 5 11
Diamondbacks 79 74 5 9
Pirates 77 74 6 11

If you're wondering just how and when the Brewers can clinch a playoff spot, Milwaukee's magic number is technically eight, but it also depends on the results of other teams' games (as well as the Brewers).

As a reminder, one game is taken off the magic number for each Milwaukee win and each loss of the other team. So, a Brewers win over St. Louis, for example, would shave off two games from that magic number (Brewers win + Cardinals loss). And as it happens, guess who Milwaukee plays this week? Yup, a big three-game series in St. Louis, which could cause some clarity, and, potentially, a clinching of a playoff spot.

Magic numbers for Brewers

Over St. Louis: 7

Over Colorado: 6

Over Philadelphia: 3

Over Arizona: 2

Over Pittsburgh: 2

Also, Chicago over Milwaukee for NL Central: 8

Milwaukee begins its final road trip Friday with three games in Pittsburgh before heading to St. Louis. The Brewers finish up the season at home against Detroit. The Tigers are 61-91 entering Thursday's games.


Upcoming Brewers games (all televised by FOX Sports Wisconsin unless otherwise noted)

Friday, Sept. 21 at. Pirates, 6:05 p.m. -- Jhoulys Chacin vs. Ivan Nova (9-9, 4.07)

Saturday, Sept. 22 at Pirates, 6:05 p.m. -- Zach Davies vs. Trevor Williams (12-9, 3.28)

Sunday, Sept. 23 at. Pirates, 12:35 p.m. -- Wade Miley vs. Joe Musgrove (6-9, 4.06)

Monday, Sept. 24 at Cardinals, 7:15 p.m. -- TBD vs. TBD (likely Chase Anderson vs. Austin Gomber (6-1, 3.63))

Tuesday, Sept. 25 at Cardinals, 7:15 p.m. -- TBD vs. TBD (likely Gio Gonzalez vs. Jack Flaherty (8-8, 3.08))

Wednesday, Sept. 26 at Cardinals, 6:15 p.m. -- TBD vs. TBD (likely Chacin or Davies vs. John Gant (7-6, 3.53))


The Brewers are just 5-11 vs. Pittsburgh this season, including losing two of three at home to the Pirates last week and 1-6 at PNC Park. Milwaukee is 8-8 against St. Louis, including 3-3 at Busch Stadium.



Cubs (7 home, 3 away)

This week: at White Sox (Sept. 21-23), vs. Pirates (Sept. 24-27)

Skinny: The Cubs have just three games away from home and in those get to play three against their crosstown neighbors, who they won two of three against earlier in the season. Chicago is 2-2 against Pittsburgh and the teams split a pair of games at PNC Park a month ago.


Dodgers (3 home, 6 road)

This week: vs. Padres (Sept. 21-23), at Diamondbacks (Sept. 24-26)

Skinny: Fresh off winning three of four from St. Louis and a three-game home sweep of Colorado, Los Angeles is now in the driver's seat in the NL West. The Dodgers have won 12 of 16 games against San Diego this season but are just 7-9 vs. Arizona. However, the Diamondbacks are fading fast and could be officially eliminated by the time these two teams meet.


Braves (4 home, 6 road)

This week: vs. Phillies (Sept. 20-23), at Mets (Sept. 25-27)

Skinny: Atlanta lost 1 1/2 games off their NL East lead and now are ahead of Philadelphia by five games. While time is on their side, the Braves have seven games left with the Phillies remaining.


Cardinals (6 home, 3 away)

This week: vs. Giants (Sept. 21-23), vs. Brewers (Sept. 24-26)

Skinny: The Giants looked like an easy mark on St. Louis' schedule after losing 10 straight games from Sept. 1-12, but have since taken two of three from both Colorado and San Diego. San Francisco will throw Madison Bumgarner in the opener. Circle Sept. 24-26 on the calendar.


Rockies (7 home, 3 road)

This week: at Diamondbacks (Sept. 21-23), vs. Phillies (Sept. 24-27)

Skinny: A week ago Colorado led the NL West and now sees itself on the outside of the playoff picture. Every game is big for the Rockies now. Colorado gets to face two teams trying desperately to get into the playoff mix. The Rockies are 8-8 against Arizona and 1-2 vs. Philadelphia this season.


Diamondbacks (6 home, 3 road)

This week: vs. Rockies (Sept. 21-23), vs. Dodgers (Sept. 24-26)

Skinny: Arizona is 5-13 in September, mostly playing playoff contenders. That doesn't bode well for the week ahead.


Phillies (3 home, 7 road)

This week: at Braves (Sept. 20-23), at Rockies (Sept. 24-27)

Skinny: Philadelphia is 6-11 in September and 19-25 since the end of July, yet somehow remain in the race after winning four of its last six. If the Phillies can get hot vs. Atlanta, who knows?


Pirates (4 home, 6 road)

This week: vs. Brewers (Sept. 21-23), at Cubs (Sept. 24-30)

Skinny: Still alive, but on life support. If Pittsburgh can hang around, it finishes up against Cincinnati for three and a makeup game against Miami on Oct. 1.