Second Half Schedule Analysis: The Easiest Way to 90 Wins

Many Milwaukee fans, let alone the national media, think that the Brewers aren't a 90 win team. It's simply unfathomable that a club projected to lose nearly a hundred games could defy the odds by achieving a milestone that defines the elite. But by breaking down each opponent, that number suddenly becomes achievable.

Next to each team below is the record that I predict the Brewers will have against that team in the second half.

Chicago Cubs (6-4)

Chicago is mediocre in every sense of the word. They have hovered around .500 for most of the year, and the stats prove why. Offensively, they rank 18th in baseball in OPS (.744) and OBP (.326), and 19th in SLG (.419), and in terms of pitching, they have dropped from first to 17th in ERA among starters, as their entire rotation, even Jon Lester, with an ERA of 4.25 to lead the staff, has struggled to find consistency. Plus, their fielding, which was a strength, is currently ranked at 10th by Fangraphs. The Cubs are not exactly living up to expectations, and even with Jose Quintana, they should lose the season series with only four more wins against the Brewers.

Cincinnati Reds (7-2)

The Reds were one of the biggest surprises in baseball entering June, as they remained in contention solely because of a powerful lineup led by Joey Votto, Scott Schebler, and Adam Duvall, which is still in the top ten in baseball in home runs. But they have inevitably regressed to ten games under due to their atrocious pitching that has given up 5.3 runs and 1.6 home runs per game, the perfect match for a powerful lineup. But their explosive offense should be able to spare them a couple high scoring games against the end of Milwaukee's rotation.

Colorado Rockies (1-2)

Milwaukee knows the importance of depth, and Colorado could possibly have the most depth of any ballclub. It may seem like they came out of nowhere, but the front office has actually been building up a strong team for years. Prospects like Raimel Tapia and Jon Gray are finally beginning to make a splash in the big leagues. Add these names, plus free agents Ian Desmond and Greg Holland, to the existing core of Arenado, Gonzalez, and Blackmon, and this team is stacked. But against a bullpen that has the 10th highest ERA in baseball, the Brewers will pick up a game.

Los Angeles Dodgers (0-3)

The Dodgers are ridiculous. They are on pace for 110 wins with contributions from all over the roster. Clayton Kershaw has been as otherworldly as usual, third in the majors in strikeouts, second in ERA, and first in wins. And he is only getting better, pitching to a 0.78 ERA in his last three starts. On offense, Justin Turner is on a tear, with a .377 batting average and a 1.056 OPS, Corey Seager is putting up a solid .298 average, and Cody Bellinger is leading the National League with a bomb every 10.3 at-bats. Don't expect the Brewers to steal a game in Los Angeles against this juggernaut.

Miami Marlins (2-1)

The middle of Miami's lineup is very intimidating, with Marcell Ozuna, Justin Bour, and Giancarlo Stanton combining for a whopping 8.1 WAR. But other than these players, no one on the Marlins roster has been consistent. A bench that is made up of Derek Dietrich, Tyler Moore, and Ichiro (who is hitting .220 at 42), doesn't compare to other major league rosters, and the rotation consists of a bunch of fifth starters, at best, who rank 20th in baseball in ERA. The Brewers will take two of three as the Marlins should avoid a sweep with their offensive core.

Minnesota Twins (3-1)

Minnesota surprised many people with its torrid start to the season just after losing 103 games in 2016. But a quick look past the standings presents a plethora of red flags. The most glaring indicator of a relapse is the minus-60 run differential, meaning that, according to Pythagorean expectation, they should only have a mere 38 wins. With a decent lineup that is still far from offsetting the dreadful pitching, an ERA of 4.95 and only 38 quality starts will be their downfall. Jose Berrios will most likely be the only stopper for the Twins in the home and away series.

Philadelphia Phillies (5-1)

The Phillies are absolutely miserable. It can easily be said that they are the worst team this year and have a 29-58 record to prove that they are on pace to be the worst team since the 2013 Houston Astros. Freddy Galvis, supposedly Philadelphia's best hitter, is batting .251 and just reached double-digit home runs on the last day of the first half, and their ace, Jeremy Hellickson, has a 4.49 ERA. As one of the worst teams in recent history, the Phillies don't break the top 20 in any major statistical category. Milwaukee will pick up five of its easiest wins against this team.

Pittsburgh Pirates (6-6)

It is safe to say that Andrew McCutchen is back to being Andrew McCutchen. Prior to May 24th, the Pirates star had a puzzling slash line of .200/.271/.359, but since that date, he has improved to .392/.487/.708. But despite this recent production, the Pittsburgh offense has been average, with moderately productive performances from Gregory Polanco, Josh Bell, and Jordy Mercer. The pitching is creating a similar output, with Jameson Taillon and Ivan Nova carrying an otherwise poor rotation with ERAs of 2.73 and 3.21, respectively, and Felipe Rivero quietly making a name for himself in a middling bullpen. The Brewers should split the rest of the season series with Pittsburgh.

San Francisco Giants (3-0)

It's obvious that this team once described as a modern dynasty has fallen from grace. The Giants have scored 354 runs for third worst in baseball, and have allowed 453 runs for fourth-worst in the NL. And despite the record-setting amount of home runs being hit this season, the Giants have only smashed 75 of them for worst in baseball. The team also has a slugging percentage of .374, good for dead last in the majors. Madison Bumgarner has been out for most of the season, and in his role, Johnny Cueto has been unspectacular. San Francisco is proving that aging players are becoming less and less able to compete against young teams like the Brewers, who will take an easy sweep.

St. Louis Cardinals (4-4)

The Cardinals had been riding a roller coaster for the entire first half, falling as low as six games under .500, and then soaring to as high as six games over. St. Louis has seen many breakout stars this year, including Tommy Pham, Luke Voit, and Carlos Martinez, sporting OPS+ of 134 and 168, and 9.9 strikeouts per 9 innings, respectively. But the players that had helped the Cardinals remain stable in years past are quickly regressing. Randal Grichuck found himself back in the minor leagues, Aledmys Diaz was dropped out of the two hole in a disappointing second season, and Michael Wacha has not impressed with a 4.10 ERA. The Brewers will split the rest of the season series with St. Louis.

Tampa Bay Rays (1-2)

The Rays are right next to the Brewers in terms of exceeding expectations. After losing 94 games, they are just 3.5 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East. The starting pitching has been a strength, posting a 4.05 ERA that is the sixth best in the majors, and Chris Archer has the fourth highest K/9 rate among AL starters. The offense has also been impressive, ranking 11th in runs, 4th in home runs, and 8th in OPS, as Corey Dickerson (142), Logan Morrison (150), and Steven Sousa (135) are each turning out career high OPS+. But the relief pitching, which ranks 20th in baseball with a 4.38 ERA, will prevent them from sweeping.

Washington Nationals (2-5)

Everybody knows that the Nationals have a premier offense, but the fact that they lead the league in AVG (.277), OBP (.345), SLG (.467), wOBA (.343), hits (855), extra-base hits (320), runs scored (486), and RBIs (472) may come as a surprise to many. Unfortunately, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Daniel Murphy will beat up on Milwaukee pitching. And the rotation led by Max Scherzer could quiet the Milwaukee offense with the most strikeouts and third lowest ERA in the NL. But, against the highest bullpen ERA and most blown saves in the league, the Brewers should take a game both at home and in the nation's capital.

Record: 90-72

vs. Cardinals: 10-9

vs. Cubs: 10-9

vs. Pirates: 9-10

vs. Reds: 14-5

Postseason Seed: 3rd