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The most important six games of the Brewers season

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The next six games will be the most important yet in 2014. A successful road trip can put the Brewers in the driver's seat for a playoff spot.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There's an axiom in baseball that a win in September is equivalent to a win in April. Wins on September 24, May 3, April 4, July 13...all of them have the same value, they all account for exactly one win.

Technically, this is true. No win counts for more in the standings than another. Same with losses. It's why a 21-7 start still has the Brewers in the playoff race despite a less-than-stellar showing since that point. It kept the Brewers in first place for 150 days, all because of those early wins. Technically, a win is a win is a win.

However, early in the season there is little defined context. Things are still being shook out and baseball is being played to bring drama to the later days of the season. You don't start scoreboard watching in April, team's places in the standings seem more fluid, more relaxed. There isn't an air of urgency like there is in September.

With context, the next six games for the Brewers are the most important of the year, to-date. As it stands, the Brewers are five games back of the Cardinals for the division lead and 1.5 games back of the Pirates for the second NL Wild Card. Lo and behold, the Brewers have series with both teams back-to-back starting tomorrow.

Right now, the Brewers odds to reach the playoffs are right around 20%. Not great. With series wins over the Cardinals and Pirates, though? Those will go up. At this point, the Pirates series is looking like the bigger of the two. With St. Louis up five games, only a series sweep will bring the Brewers withing firing distance. Meanwhile, a series sweep of Pittsburgh puts the Brewers ahead in the race for a wild card.

After these two series' the Brewers have just two more. They'll have three games in Cincinnati, then three against the Cubs in Miller Park. Neither team is great. The Brewers can take series wins against both. After the Brewers, the Cardinals play the Reds, Cubs and Diamondbacks. Two of the same opponents as the Brewers, and the Diamondbacks are no good, either.

The Pirates, meanwhile, are taking on the Red Sox, the Braves and the Reds outside of their series with the Brewers. That's a little tougher. The Braves are also still contending for a Wild Card and will have plenty of motivation to win. The Red Sox aren't pushovers.

In one week, the Brewers will be finished with the two remaining opponents that mean the most, not that the series against the Cubs and Reds don't mean anything. After all, the Cubs did just sweep the Brewers recently. But these six games may well be the final deciding factor in whether the Brewers have a shot at the playoffs or not.

These six games are now the most important of the season. A successful road trip and the Brewers still have a solid shot at making the postseason. Losing four, five or six games and the team's season is likely all but over.