The All-Star Break is 38 days away. In previous years, we would be talking about who the Brewers can get into the All-Star game, what their chances are to make the playoffs, and many other positive statements. That's far from the case this year. They're practically guaranteed only one representative for the All-Star Game (most likely candidates are Ryan Braun and Francisco Rodriguez at this point), and are out of the playoff conversation. There might be a little hope left, but if you have some, it may come to an end soon. The Brewers play what is arguably their toughest stretch of baseball in the next 38 days.
First of all, there's very few chances to rest in this upcoming stretch. The Brewers have two off-days remaining until the break, and will be playing on the other 36 days. That includes stretches of 17 games in a row and 16 games in a row, and will have a weakened staff with Wily Peralta on the DL and Will Smith facing a suspension at any minute now (if not already announced). Chances to get rest during this break are slim.
In addition, the Brewers will be playing some of the toughest games during this stretch. Over these 36 games, 13 of them will be played against division leaders, and 10 are against second-place teams. Only 13 games will be against teams with records under .500. Just look at the upcoming schedule to see what the Brewers have to face (records as of 6/3):
|June 5-7||@ Minnesota Twins||32-21||1st in AL Central|
|June 8-10||@ Pittsburgh Pirates||29-24||2nd in NL Central|
|June 11-14||vs. Washington Nationals||29-24||1st in NL East|
|June 15-18||vs./@ Kansas City Royals||30-20||2nd in AL Central|
|June 19-21||@ Colorado Rockies||24-28||5th in NL West|
|June 23-25||vs. New York Mets||29-25||2nd in NL East|
|June 26-28||vs. Minnesota Twins||32-21||1st in AL Central|
|June 29-July 2||@ Philadelphia Phillies||21-33||5th in NL East|
|July 3-5||@ Cincinnati Reds||22-29||4th in NL Central|
|July 6-8||vs. Atlanta Braves||26-27||3rd in NL East|
|July 10-12||@ Los Angeles Dodgers||31-22||1st in NL West|
The schedule is particularly brutal through the end of June. They get one series against a team with a losing record through June 28, and it's a trip to Coors Field, where the Brewers pitchers never fare well. They do get a break with opponents to start July, but it's not much of a break. They finish it with a trip to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers, which should be a particularly tough series.
What can we expect from the Brewers over the next month and a half? It's definitely not looking good. If they maintain their current winning percentage, they'll finish the stretch at 30-60, which would definitely kill any small rays of hope that they could make the playoffs. Even going .500 during this stretch would put them at 36-54, and still firmly out of the conversation. My prediction is splitting the difference at 15-21 in these 36 games, which puts them at 33-57 going into the All-Star Break. That's about as positive as I can get about this stretch. They don't get any easy opponents at home. They are facing some of the elite teams in baseball. Nothing about the upcoming set of games looks good for the Brewers. They will probably take a series or two, maybe even sweep one. However, I also expect to see a losing streak at some point, which will feature one or two series where they get swept.
The days ahead look dark for the Brewers, but these are the times that test us as fans. If you need some advice to get through it, Derek had a good list a few weeks ago that you can revisit. Find something that works for you and focus on that instead of the performance on the field. Hopefully that will help you survive the brutal stretch that is about to begin.