The Milwaukee Brewers have had an up and down season so far but are still in the hunt to make a second straight playoff appearance. What do their postseason possibilities look like going into the second half of the season, and what needs to happen in order to make it back to the playoffs?
Can the Brewers win the Wild Card
Currently, the Milwaukee Brewers are only a half game odut of the second Wild Card spot and a game back out of the first spot. The Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies currently hold the two top spots, but five teams other than the Brewers are within three games of the second spot. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies are only 2.5 games out of the second spot and they currently have records under .500.
If the first half of the season is any indication on how the second half the season will go, Wild Card spots may not be decided until the last couple games of the year.
The Milwaukee Brewers are clearly in a situation to grab one of those two Wild Card spots if they can’t win the division. The one and done format of the Wild Card makes having a clear ace on the pitching staff an important piece to post season success.
How about another NL Central title?
If you thought the Wild Card standings were up for grabs, the National League Central standings are just as muddy. The Milwaukee Brewers are currently a half game out of first in their division behind the Chicago Cubs but the St Louis Cardinals and Pirates are less than three games out of the division lead.
The Reds, who are currently in last place in the division, are only 4.5 games out of the lead. Not only could the Wild Card race go down to the wire, but all indications are pointed at a down to the wire finish for the NL Central division as well.
What needs to happen
There are few things that need to happen for the Milwaukee Brewers to go back to the playoffs.
First, they need to get healthy and stay healthy. Getting Gio Gonzalez back into the rotation will help. Improved health for Ryan Braun, Christian Yelich, and Lorenzo Cain will also be essential.
Second, they need help with pitching. Getting a quality starter and/or one or two solid bullpen arms prior to the trade deadline is a must. Third, they need Jesus Aguilar to continue the upward hitting trend we saw just prior to the break. An improved Aguilar gives the team a nice platoon situation at first with Eric Thames and Aguilar.
Fourth, they need to continue to be successful against division teams. They are currently 14-8 against NL Central teams. Finally, they need to improve their run differential. They currently have a run differential of -17. Playoff teams traditionally have positive run differentials.
Even though the Milwaukee Brewers have not met expectations in the first half of the season, they are still in a great spot to make the playoffs again this year.