Milwaukee Brewers: Will They Repeat What the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals Did?
The Brewers would go on to win the division, but the Cardinals made a strong enough push to win the National League wild-card berth.
They slugged it out with the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL divisional round, taking the series in five games. Then, they moved on to take the National League Championship Series from the Brewers in six games.
In what was arguably one of the most entertaining and memorable World Series matchups in years, the Cards would win it all against the Texas Rangers in seven games.
At this time last year, nobody gave them a chance.
The Brewers are in the exact same position right now.
As it stands today, the Brew Crew is 12-4 on the month of September. Yes, they are 13.5 games out of the division, but with the addition of a second Wild Card this season, they find themselves just 2.5 games out of postseason play.
Of course, they would need to jump the Los Angeles Dodgers and, you guessed it, the St. Louis Cardinals to get there.
The Cardinals of 2011 had a much easier schedule on their way to October last season. They only had to play the New York Mets, who were 73-80, the Chicago Cubs, who were 67-86 and the Houston Astros, who were 52-100.
The Brewers of 2012 have a much tougher road ahead.
They still have games left against the 74-73 Pittsburgh Pirates (who trail them in the wild-card race by just 1.0 game), the 89-57 Washington Nationals and the 89-59 Cincinnati Reds before hosting the 48-100 Houston Astros and 71-70 San Diego Padres.
Yes, the final two series of the year should be there for the taking. However, having to face the two best teams in the National League back to back can hurt them long term.
That said, the Brewers have been playing extremely hot baseball.
In their last 10 games, they have gone 8-2 and have won three straight—five of those victories coming against the Cardinals and including a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves, a team that leads the NL wild-card race.
As a team, the Brewers' 707 runs scored this season leads the National League, as does their 184 home runs. The offense hasn't been the issue, but it seems as though the Brewers are trying to slug their way into the postseason.
Ryan Braun has been playing out of his mind. Over the last 30 days, he owns a .349 batting average and leads the NL with a 1.048 OPS.
He's been leading by example, crushing seven home runs, making him the first player in the NL with 40 or more bombs this season, adding 21 RBI and stealing seven bases.
In other words, he is willing his team to victory, as any leader should.
While it is far too early to tell how everything is going to play out, what we can be sure of is a fantastic finish to the 2012 Major League Baseball season, one that promises to have a few surprises still to come.
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