Brewers playoff chase primer: Division within reach

Lorenzo Cain and the Milwaukee Brewers are just one game back of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

Fangraphs currently calculates Milwaukee’s playoff chances at 98 percent (26.2 percent to win the NL Central and 71.8 percent to take get a wild card).

This shouldn’t come as a surprise as the Brewers are in the top wild-card spot currently, with a 2 1/2-game bulge, and sit just one game in back of Chicago for the division lead. Also, Milwaukee’s remaining schedule is tied for the easiest among all NL teams, with their final opponents having a .471 winning percentage.

NL CENTRAL STANDINGS

TEAM W L GB GR
Cubs 84 61 17
Brewers 84 63 1 15
Cardinals 81 65 3.5 16

NL WILD-CARD STANDINGS

(note: bolded teams are division leaders)

TEAM W L GB GR
Cubs 84 61 +3.5 17
Brewers 84 63 +2.5 15
Braves 82 64 +1 16
Cardinals 81 65 16
Rockies 80 65 .5 17
Dodgers 79 67 2 16
Diamondbacks 77 69 4 16

Milwaukee opens a six-game home stand Friday, with three games against Pittsburgh and three vs. Cincinnati. Then the Brewers hit the road a pair of three-game series against the Pirates and St. Louis before finishing up the year with three games at Miller Park against Detroit.

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Upcoming Brewers games (all televised by FOX Sports Wisconsin)

Friday, Sept. 14 vs. Pirates, 7:10 p.m. — Gio Gonzalez vs. Chris Archer (4-7, 4.56 ERA)

Saturday, Sept. 15 vs. Pirates, 6:10 p.m. — Zach Davies vs. Ivan Nova (8-9, 4.17)

Sunday, Sept. 16 vs. Pirates, 1:10 p.m. — Jhoulys Chacin vs. Trevor Williams (12-9, 3.28)

Monday, Sept. 17 vs. Reds, 6:40 p.m. — Wade Miley vs. Anthony DeSciafani (7-5, 4.80)

Tuesday, Sept. 18 vs. Reds, 6:40 p.m. — TBD vs. TBD (likely Chase Anderson vs. Luis Castillo (9-12, 4.66))

Wednesday, Sept. 19 vs. Reds, 6:40 p.m. — TBD vs. TBD (likely Gonzalez vs. Cody Reed (0-2, 5.08))

The Brewers are just 4-9 vs. Pittsburgh this season but 11-5 against Cincinnati.

 

THE CONTENDERS

Cubs (10 home, 7 away)

This week: at Nationals (Sept. 13), vs. Reds (Sept. 14-16), at Diamondbacks (Sept. 17-19)

Skinny: The Cubs have a makeup game Thursday then moved Friday’s game from day to night to help with travel concerns. This could be Arizona’s last gasp at a playoff shot. Chicago is 3-3 this season against Washington, 9-7 vs. Cincinnati and 3-3 vs. Arizona. If the Diamondbacks stick to their rotation, the Cubs will likely face Patrick Corbin, Clay Buchholz and Robbie Ray.

 

Braves (10 home, 6 road)

This week: vs. Nationals (Sept. 14-16), vs. Cardinals (Sept. 17-19)

Skinny: Atlanta has a 7 1/2-game lead in the NL East. The Braves shouldn’t have to worry about the wild card, especially since they begin a 10-game home stand Friday.

 

Cardinals (10 home, 6 away)

This week: vs. Dodgers (Sept. 13-16), at Braves (Sept. 17-19)

Skinny: St. Louis has a tough road, having to face four playoff contenders among its final five opponents (the Giants being the exception). The Cardinals are 3-0 vs. Los Angeles in 2018 but 0-3 against Atlanta. It won’t start easily for St. Louis, which has to face Clayton Kershaw in Thursday’s opener.

 

Rockies (8 home, 9 road)

This week: vs. Diamondbacks (Sept. 13), at Giants (Sept. 14-16), at Dodgers (Sept. 17-19)

Skinny: Colorado leads the NL West, but could slip back into the wild-card race as it has a nine-game road trip beginning Thursday against all three of its division mates. The Rockies have won two of three in its current series against Arizona but are 7-8 overall on the season vs. the D-backs. Colorado is 11-5 against San Francisco and 7-9 vs. Los Angeles.

 

Dodgers (6 home, 10 road)

This week: at Cardinals (Sept. 13-16), vs. Rockies (Sept. 17-19)

Skinny: Los Angeles is just 1.5 games behind Colorado in the NL West and get to host the Rockies for three games Monday-Wednesday. The Dodgers close the year with six games on the road. L.A. is 0-3 against St. Louis and 9-7 vs. the Rockies this season.

 

Diamondbacks (9 home, 7 road)

This week: at Rockies (Sept. 13), at Astros (Sept. 14-16), vs. Cubs (Sept. 17-19)

Skinny: Arizona is 3-8 thus far in September and have and will face current division leaders for 17 straight games (starting Sept. 6 against Atlanta). The Diamondbacks have a hard climb to get a wild-card spot as is, so they better get hot, and fast.