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Momentum clearly in Brewers’ favor

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Michael Hunt
August 30, 2011
— This is just a hunch, but the Milwaukee Brewers probably are going to lose a game at some point between now and the end of the regular season.

John Axford? Yep, he’s likely to blow a save opportunity.


Zack Greinke just might not win the rest of his starts at Miller Park, and it’s fairly safe to assume he won’t be stealing any bases in the immediate future.


Corey Hart is going to cool down.


And a ninth-inning error is really going to cost them.


But it was days like Sunday, when a gorgeous hint of September was finally in the air, that caused an immediate suspension of disbelief.


And you thought the Chicago Cubs were basically good for nothing, when they were actually quite useful for once.


By showing something approaching genuine interest in exchange for their bloated paychecks, the Cubs made baseball’s hottest team sweat for a change. They pushed the Brewers right up against the wall, quite literally in a couple of instances, and still the Brewers won for the ludicrous 27th time in 32 games.


They’ve won 50 times at home, and the calendar hasn’t even flipped to baseball’s second-most important month yet.


These guys are walking on moon dust, people, the first team in franchise history to be 27 games above .500. They are going to clinch the division with time to set up a half-dozen rotations for the playoffs, and there is not one thing Tony La Russa’s monopoly on baseball wisdom can do about it.


“I think they’re figuring it out,” manager Ron Roenicke said after—and I know this gets tedious, but I’ve no better way to say it anymore—the Brewers won again.


Yeah, and Steve Jobs kind of figured out that computer thing, too.


So it was almost startling to see the Brewers struggle a little bit Sunday. The Cubs are finally off the home portion of the 2011 schedule, but you could thank them when you see them next for honing the Brewers’ October act.


It’s true, Axford didn’t have his stuff for once, and still he skated. Casey McGehee kicked a ball when the Cubs were intent on making Sunday an extra-inning experience, and still they lived for Roenicke to tell about the heady perspective of a runaway train.


Roenicke knows it, you know it, everybody knows that the Brewers are going to take the division sometime around the middle of September. True, they’ve got the St. Louis Cardinals six more times, but the overwhelming momentum the Brewers have created will make the Cardinals as uninteresting as the Cubs during the series sweep.


But as he has done with just about every situation this season, Roenicke is handling it properly.


“We haven’t really discussed that,” Roenicke said of Clinch Day. “Grinding out every game is where we are. But they know where we are. We’re not talking about when that end will come.”


Good, but that doesn’t prevent the rest of us from talking about it. There’s no need for the Brewers to do anything but keep their health and their heads about them as they did against the Cubs. Oh, that, and maintaining proper champagne temperature while keeping it out of sight for now.


But truth be told, St. Louis is coming to town for one of the most incidental Brewers-Cardinals late-season series the mind can handle.


By the way, Roenicke mentioned that his team is thinking about playing quality baseball, not creating separation with the rival that created the game.


“If we play them the way we’re capable of playing them, I think we’re in a nice situation,” Roenicke said.


Yeah, “nice” works.



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