The Brewers have the day off today, getting some rest in before opening a three-game series in Pittsburgh. Hopefully they are enjoying every minute of that off-day. It’s one of the few days that they will have off over the last 2 1/2 months of the season.
Back in April, when I was discussing the 2016 season, I pointed to this chunk of schedule after the All-Star Break, where off-days will be in short supply. We’re now about to hit that part of the schedule. Here is what the Brewers will face in the upcoming months:
- 16 straight days with games (7/19 to 8/3)
- 10 straight days with games (8/5 to 8/14)
- 17 games in 16 days (8/16 to 8/31)
- 17 straight days with games (9/2 to 9/18)
- 9 straight days with games (9/20 to 9/28)
- 3 games to end the season (9/30 to 10/2)
If you’re following along, here are some of the stretches the Brewers will have to endure:
- 26 games in 27 days: 7/19 to 8/14, with one off day on 8/4.
- 34 games in 34 days: 8/16 to 9/18, with one off-day on 9/1.
- 69 games in 72 days, with a total of four off-days.
- A total of five off-days left in the season.
That’s a lot of baseball, especially in the hottest months of the year. Miller Park can get uncomfortably warm at this time of year. Just looking to this upcoming weekend, high temperatures will be in the low 90s on Friday, with the heat index at or above 100℉. The roof at Miller Park can provide some relief from the sun, but it still gets hot inside the closed dome. (If you’re going to any day games, I recommend sitting on the first base/right field side so you don’t roast in the sun.) In addition, the road destinations aren’t much kinder. The NL Central has some hot destinations, with St. Louis probably the most brutal of them. At least road trips to Seattle, San Diego, and Arizona (which has an air-conditioned interior with the roof closed) should be somewhat cooler, and the trip to Texas will be all night games at the end of September.
With such a difficult work schedule coming up, keeping the players healthy will be a top priority. Expect to see regular off-days scheduled for some of the regular players, like Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy. The rotation should avoiding skipping starts as much as possible, and could even consider shutting down some of the “younger” starters (Zach Davies, Chase Anderson, Junior Guerra) if innings pitched becomes a concern. The Brewers eight-man bullpen could stick around for a while so the team has depth there. Finally, don’t be surprised to see roster moves on a regular basis. The Brewers may move players back and forth to bring in fresher players as needed. Once September hits, the usual crop of call-ups will come, and that will also help keep the team fresher.
The All-Star Break was a nice opportunity to get the players rest for a few days. Hopefully they are feeling well now, because their stamina will be tested over the course of the remainder of the season.