The Brewers may have a playoff spot clinched already, but there’s plenty left to play for as the regular season comes to an end this weekend.
For one -- a division crown and the ability to avoid the randomness of a single Wildcard play-in game. Milwaukee walks into Denver tonight just a game behind the Cardinals for the lead in the NL Central, thanks to their latest 7-game win streak.
The Brewers also have a chance to extend that win streak to a season-high 8 games tonight. If that happens, it will also be the Brewers’ 90th win of the season, securing back-to-back 90-win seasons for the first time in 40 years, when they did it in 1978 and 1979.
The Rockies, meanwhile, have already clinched a 90-loss season a year after winning 91 games and meeting the Brewers in the NLDS. A series loss to end the year would guarantee them of a last-place finish this year in the NL West.
Despite that, it won’t necessarily be an easy weekend for the Brewers. While they won their series at Coors Field last year, it hasn’t necessarily been a friendly place for the Brewers over the years.
Unlike some other teams eliminated from postseason contention, the Rockies are still playing to salvage at least a little bit of pride, with stars like Nolan Arenado (.315/.378/.585 with 41 home runs, 31 doubles and a 129 OPS+), Charlie Blackmon (.316/.367/.578 with 31 home runs, 42 doubles, and a 125 OPS+), and Trevor Story (.295/.362/.552 ith 34 home runs, 37 doubles and a 118 OPS+) still in the lineup.
Friday, September 27th - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Zach Davies vs. Antonio Senzatela
Senzatela comes into this start with a 6.90 ERA in 24 starts, with a BB/9 (4.2) nearly as high as his K/9 (5.3). He was having a much better start to the season when he saw the Brewers last on May 1st, allowing 2 runs over 4 innings. Unfortunately for him, it was largely downhill from there, as he gave up 7 runs in his next start, the first of 8 times he allowed 6 or more runs in a start (including 5 starts in a row from July 5th to August 30th). He gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings against the Dodgers in his last start.
Saturday, September 28th - 7:10 p.m. CDT
TBD vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez
The right-hander has been a consistent member of the rotation since August 19th, before giving way to an opener in his last start but pitching well in innings 3 through 7 against the Dodgers, allowing just 2 runs on 2 hits over 5 innings. He’s another Rockies starter that has struggled with walks, giving 31 free passes in 57 innings this year, compared to just 40 strikeouts.
Sunday, September 29th - 2:10 p.m. CDT
TBD vs. Jeff Hoffman
The former first rounder has struggled all year long, whether it’s been in the majors or Triple-A, where he had a 7.70 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) while getting hit to the tune of a 6.78 ERA in the majors. Hoffman has given up 39 home runs between Albuquerque and Colorado this year, including 8 in 5 starts this month for the Rockies. He left his last start after just 3.1 innings after taking a line drive off his knee.
The Brewers looked to be on their way to a series win over the Rockies in late April and early May, winning the first 2 games of a 4-game set at Miller Park. But back-to-back poor starts from Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta led to back-to-back games of the Brewers giving up 11 runs, dropping the final two games -- and dropping to just one game over .500 early in the year.
Fortunately, they responded by winning 7 in a row and things turned out to be fine.
We should also mention this was the scene the last time the Brewers played at Coors Field:
Perhaps we’re in store for another celebration in the Mile High City.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference