MILWAUKEE (AP) – The Milwaukee Brewers return home with the greatest division leader of any National League team, but it was their success away from Milwaukee that helped them build a seven-game cushion.
Milwaukee‘s weekend sweep against NL Central rival Cincinnati improved the Brewers’ road record to 29-18, the best in the majors. The Brewers start a five-game home game Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals.
Outfielder Christian Yelich attributes the Brewers’ success to their unit.
“Everyone really loves each other, takes each other” Yelich said. “Just the tenacity. Everyone just wants to win, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
For some reason, these traits stood out more when they’re away from Milwaukee. The Brewers have been even better on the road than at home, where they are 27-21.
“There is no explanation for this” said manager Craig Counsell. “You just play a good game of baseball and that’s what happens. We get there all the time – match day records, road records. It’s just playing good baseball.
The Brewers have played great baseball over the past two months as they’ve weathered a slew of injuries. Their 35-16 record since May 22 is the best in baseball this stretch.
May 22 was the day shortstop Willy Adames made his Brewers debut, and his acquisition of Tampa Bay played a big part in the rise of Milwaukee. Adames, who was hitting .197 with the Rays, produced 0.314 with a 0.398 base percentage, 11 home runs and 37 RBIs in 51 games with Milwaukee.
But there are plenty of other reasons Milwaukee runs NL Central.
The trio of all-stars leading the rotation – Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta – helped the Brewers dominate the majors in strikeouts (968) and third in the ERA (3.40) . Opponents hit .212 against Milwaukee.
Closest to the stars, Josh Hader, struggled in the week leading up to the All-Star break, but otherwise was outstanding. All-star catcher Omar Narvaez hit .293 with a .387 base percentage, up dramatically from his .176 and .294 OBP average in 2020.
Avisail Garcia’s 17 circuits are three of his career highs. Luis Ur ”as, who didn’t score at all last season, has gone deep 13 times this year. Actors such as Jace Peterson and Tyrone Taylor gave it a boost.
This allowed the Brewers to thrive even without securing the expected contributions from players of notable position.
Lorenzo Cain has not played since May 31 due to a hamstring injury, although he is closing in on a comeback. Jackie Bradley Jr. Reached 0.173. Kolten Wong has been included on the injured list three times. Yelich, the NL’s 2018 MVP, doesn’t hit with a lot of power – his stroke percentage is 0.398.
Yelich showed signs of progress scoring an RBI brace in the 11th inning on Saturday and homering on Sunday.
Although the Brewers have made the playoffs each of the past three years, this big lead puts them in an unknown position.
Last year, they capitalized on the expanded MLB playoff format to reach the playoffs without ever going over 0.500. They reached the playoffs in 2018 and 2019 by doing huge stretch races.
“It’s a bad week far from a really close race”, Yelich said. “It’s far, far, far from over.”
The booming Brewers aren’t the biggest story of Milwaukee, where the Bucks are looking to win their first NBA title since 1971. The Bucks’ run also caught the attention of the Brewers, who moved Tuesday’s game to a early afternoon so he does. t in conflict with Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
“We are all excited” said Counsell, who witnessed the Bucks win in Game 4. “We really are. I mean, the club house is excited for them, I know that. We have talked about it a lot and we are thrilled and happy for the city and happy for all the fans. It’s a really, really cool thing.
The Brewers would like to keep the excitement around Milwaukee until October.