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Brewers Will Need Help of Astros to Catch St. Louis

Three games in, the Brewers’ series against the Nationals has gone reasonably well. The Crew pulled out an incredible comeback victory on Friday, looked very sluggish in a 4-10 loss the following afternoon, then won 6-3 on Sunday, giving them a chance to take three out of four with a win tomorrow. With Marco Estrada on the mound tomorrow, they have a decent chance of doing that, but there’s one problem: The Brewers haven’t picked up any games on the St. Louis Cardinals in the process.

Thanks in part to Saturday’s loss, but mostly due to the fact that the Chicago Cubs are a terrible, terrible baseball team, the Brewers finish Sunday 2.5 games behind the Cardinals, the same as when they started the series on Friday. As Jaymes Langrehr of Disciples of Uecker noted yesterday, the Brewers are quickly running out of time to make up ground on St. Louis, who begins a three-game set against the Astros today. Yes, those Astros.

The pitching matchups for the series line up like this:

Monday, 7:05 CT: Lance Lynn (163.2 IP, 3.49 FIP) vs. Fernando Abad (44 IP, 4.61 FIP)

Tuesday, 7:05 CT: Jaime Garcia (108 IP, 3.15 FIP) vs. Lucas Harrell (182.2 IP, 3.77 FIP)

Wednesday, 7:05 CT: Chris Carpenter (5 IP, 3.51 FIP) vs. Bud Norris (155 IP, 4.42 FIP)

The fact that teams like the Astros regularly do beat teams like the Cardinals is one of the coolest things about baseball, but the odds don’t look to be in Houston’s (and by default, the Brewers’) favor. Both teams have the same record in September (10-10), but the Astros haven’t had much luck against the Cardinals this year, going 3-9, and were swept by them in convincing fashion a week ago.

In addition, there’s not a single pitching matchup that looks particularly good for Houston. Abad has made five forgettable starts since being moved from the bullpen last month, while Lynn has been lights-out after a similar transition a couple weeks ago. Lucas Harrell has been a pleasant surprise this year, but is still nowhere as good as Garcia. Say what you will about pitcher wins, but the fact that Bud Norris hasn’t gotten one since the middle of May is telling.

The Brewers are in the position where simply winning most of their remaining games won’t be enough to sneak into the postseason. They’re going to need some help from both the Cardinals and their opponents, and will probably have to pick up at least one game in this series just to say in the hunt. For that to happen, the Brewers are either going to have to sweep the reds or the Astros are going to have to win at least two out of their three with the Cardinals. It certainly could happen, but relying on it to, as the Brewers are,

 isn’t an enviable position to be in.