PLAYOFF FEVER is catching among a small portion of the fan base and I can't believe it. This team? The team that actually got me to give up on them in July? This team is causing playoff fever? Really?
Really. The Brewers are now just two game under .500 and sit a cool 6.5 back of the St. Louis Cardinals who they just so happen to play this weekend. The Cardinals, of course, are the reason for all this optimism in the first place. On August 27th of last season the Cardinals had playoff odds of 1.1 percent and then they got hot and won the World Series. On August 27th of this year? The Brewers had 0.2 percent playoff odds. So not the same and even today they are only up to 0.8 percent, still not the same. The 2011 Rays were 0.5 percent on 9/3 last year, but that was a completely different circumstance.
BUT they are hot! Red hot in fact! They are only two games under .500 with a not impossible schedule left to go. They haven't been two games under .500 since May. Is there really reason to believe?
Let's be honest: this is the most unlikely thing ever. In order for the Brewers to make the playoffs they'd probably have to:
- Win at least 20 games
That's 20-6 including the game going on right now. They are 13-3 in their last 16 games so that means that the Brewers need to finish the season 33-9. That's an .800 winning percentage over 1/4th of a season which is almost impossible.
- Beat St. Louis and Atlanta
They are 4-11 against those two teams this year and 12-14 against them last year. Both teams are arguably better. The Brewers are arguably worse.
- Do all of this with an incomplete rotation
Mark Rogers has been shut down for the season, Mike Fiers probably will be and the rest is a question mark. How many innings do Peralta and Thornburg have left? Is Thornburg any better than he was in his brief stay earlier this season? (I doubt it.) Are we going to sneak into the playoffs and win the World Series with Yo, a not 100% Marcum, Estrada and Thornburg? Is this what we're hoping for? (I mean, it is but still.)
- Hope the bullpen somehow saves itself
The Brewers have been winning because they've been killing the baseball. They've been averaging over six runs a game during their recent hot stretch. They have not been winning because the bullpen is fixed. The bullpen is not fixed.
- Hope that three of the four teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race don't have a better record at the end of the season
Okay, so let's say the Brewers do go 20-6. HOLY COW, RIGHT?! They would finish with 87 wins which means they need three of these four things to happen:
- Braves to finish 9-16
- Cardinals to finish 12-13
- Pirates to finish 13-13
- Dodgers to finish 13-11
I'm sorry, but I just don't see all that happening.
- Win a one game playoff to make it to the next round
To go 20-6 the Brewers would have to do anything and everything to make that possible. They would have to play the baseball of their lives. For what? A one game playoff that will probably be on the road. Lose that and it's over. So they really need to go 21-6. Yeah.
But there is a chance which is what makes this whole thing scary. It's fun, but it's also scary. Remember when I declared the Brewers season over? Here's what I said at that time:
With the loss of the weight of expectations regarding the Brewers in 2012 I am a lot happier now. How awful would it have been for them to finish like three games out of the Wild Card? I can point to like 15 games that the Brewers could have won this season and for them to be that close with those on the resume would absolutely destroy me.
Well guess what? There is a good chance that is going to happen and I'm already looking back at the schedule and hating my life. Is there any way we can do May over? How about those three one run losses to the Royals, are we sure we didn't just do the math wrong? Remember that Giants game where Roenicke used Dillard over Axford? How about those four straight one run losses during the seven game losing streak that killed the season back in July? Any chance of a do over there? Why couldn't one of these games have been rained out when we still had the lead? Why did K-Rod have to accept arbitration? We could have had Broxton! This is the pain of a baseball season. So many breaks go the wrong way and all your left with is the what-ifs.
The 2012 Milwaukee Brewers have proven that they are exactly who I thought they were. A really, really good team that can beat anyone at anytime. Their Pythagorean record is 71-65. They have outscored their opponents all season and in every month of the season but one. They have three players in the top 20 of OPS in the National League. They just... well, you know. I don't even want to talk about it anymore. It makes me sick. Four less blown saves and we are excited. We still have the worst bullpen in the NL, but we have a chance. FOUR. That's it. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go stick a knife in the toaster.
So let's just enjoy this. Maybe the Brewers can take a chunk out of the Cardinals and someone more tolerable can get in there (which would be literally anyone else.) Maybe the Brewers can finish strong and Ryan Braun can win his 2nd straight MVP. He deserves it, but an under .500 team is not getting an MVP. A team a few games out of the Wild Card? Maybe! Anything could happen, a playoff spot is highly unlikely, but what really matters is that Brewers baseball is still fun. Brewers baseball is still important and in 2013 we are going all the way.