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Update: Yes, math is still in Brewers’ favor

The Brewers lost again to the Phillies on Saturday night, extending their losing streak to five games. The Cardinals won again against Atlanta, cutting Milwaukee’s division lead in the NL Central to 6 games. The Brewers have 15 games left to play. The Cardinals have 17.

I wrote at the start of September that the math was on the Brewers’ side. At the time, there was a great amount of panic because the Brewers’ lead in the Central was down to just 7.5 games. Fast forward 10 days, and St. Louis has only managed to pick up 1.5 games since that point despite Milwaukee’s recent skid.

And yes, the math is still on the Brewers’ side — even if it doesn’t seem that way. An update of what needs to happen to close the year for the Cardinals to tie and force a one-game playoff:

15-0 / xx
14-1 / xx
13-2 / xx
12-3 / xx
11-4 / xx
10-5 / 17-0
9-6 / 16-1
8-7 / 15-2
7-8 / 14-3
6-9 / 13-4
5-10 / 12-5
4-11 / 11-6
3-12 / 10-7
2-13 / 9-8
1-14 / 8-9
0-15 / 7-10

The Brewers finishing the year 5-10 seems a lot more likely than it did a couple weeks ago, but even if that’s the case, the Cardinals still have to go 12-5 over their last 17 to tie. They still have a four-game series in Philadelphia to play, and while the Phillies could have the #1 seed in the playoffs locked up by then, they’re still chasing 100 wins for the year and Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels are still going to be making starts to finish out the month.

After Sunday, the Brewers finish the year with series against Colorado, Cincinnati, Chicago, Florida, and Pittsburgh. Even with how poorly the Brewers have played against St. Louis and Philadelphia, they’ve largely taken care of business against everyone else lately, and you have to think there’s at least 5 wins left in that group of games. Even if the Brewers finish the year 7-8, it’s virtually impossible for the Cardinals to catch them.

It’s easy to panic right now, but the Brewers are still in no danger of missing the playoffs. If you want to worry about Arizona passing up the Brewers in the seeding — which they did Saturday night — to force the Brewers into a matchup against the Phillies in the first round, that’s more understandable. Still, there’s the small chance that the Cardinals catch the Braves for the wildcard spot, which would also get the Brewers out of facing Philly in round one.

There’s still a lot of baseball left to decide seeding, but there isn’t enough left for the Brewers to realistically choke away a playoff appearance… even if it seems like they’re trying.