[Editor's Note: This is the first offering from a new writer that we are very excited to bring aboard: Ronald Clements, a 10-year journalist who has covered Division I football, basketball, and baseball, as well as the NFL, NHL, and NASCAR. Ronald is a graduate of East Carolina University, where he majored in broadcast journalism and was a Senior Sports Writer for The East Carolinian.
He also has experience as a blogger, having been a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a featured blogger for ESPN.com. Oh, and he was in the Marine Corps from 1992-2001, which makes him more of a badass than 99.9 percent of the people reading this and certainly more of one than the clown doing the editing here.
If the Milwaukee Brewers are going to somehow make an improbable run toward the playoffs, the final month of the season is the time to do it.
That run could start tonight, when the Brewers visit NL Central leading St. Louis.
The Brewers and Cardinals tangle nine times in the next 33 days, and Milwaukee has six games against the second-place Chicago Cubs.
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Braden Looper goes against his former team tonight at Busch Stadium. He is second on the squad with 11 wins, trailing Yovani Gallardo’s 12.
The Brewers need Looper and Gallardo to be solid down the stretch. More importantly, Milwaukee needs the rest of the staff to break out of its disappointing season-long funk.
Carlos Villanueva was solid last year, but is 2-10 this season with an ERA over six. Manny Parra and Jeff Suppan both have losing records and ERAs hovering around six.
Most knew that the Brewers' starters would struggle this year without Ben Sheets and C.C. Sabathia. But after a strong start, who knew they would simply collapse around mid-May and never recover.
At this point, the playoffs are extremely unlikely, but one can hope. What should also be hoped for is simply finishing the season over .500. As it stands, the Brewers are two games below .500 (64-66) and 12 games behind first-place St. Louis.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, own a 10.5-game lead over Chicago—the largest margin of any division leader in the big leagues. The acquisitions of Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa, and John Smoltz have really worked out well for the Cards. Couple that with consistent starting pitching provided by Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainright, and tonight’s starter, Joel Pineiro, and St. Louis has been on fire since the all-star break.
The Brewers aren’t out of it yet and can make up some serious ground in the month of September. They’d probably have to win at least 10 of those 15 remaining games against St. Louis and Chicago to make the playoffs.
As much as I hate to say it, that just isn’t going to happen.