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BLOMBERG COLUMN: Playoff picture coming into focus as season hits homestretch

BLOMBERG COLUMN: Playoff picture coming into focus as season hits homestretch

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From a walk-off grand slam to a combined no-hitter, everything is going the Milwaukee Brewers way as they continue to steamroll their way to Major League Baseball’s 2021 postseason.

Make no mistake, the Brewers are a team on a mission.

With a 14 game lead as of Tuesday over the second place Cincinnati Reds, by the time this edition of the Dells Events hits the news stand I expect Milwaukee will have secured the National League Central Division crown and set their starting rotation for the upcoming playoffs.

If not now then certainly by the end of the week. Either way it’s going to happen.

With the Brewers a shoo-in to win the NL Central, what other teams will most likely meet along the road to the 2021 World Series?

Continuing with the National League, as a lifelong fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, much as I hate to admit it, LA’s eight-year reign as champions of the NL West appears to be coming to an end. As of Tuesday the Dodgers age-old nemesis, the San Francisco Giants, held a 2.5 game lead over the defending World Champs and clinched a playoff spot owning the best record in baseball at 94-50. However, owning the second best record at 92-53, the Dodgers should still nail down one of two available wild card spots.

Looking to join LA as the second NL Wild Card team are the Reds (75-69), San Diego Padres (74-69), or possibly the St. Louis Cardinals (74-69) or Philadelphia Phillies (72-71).

As for the NL East, the Atlanta Braves currently hold a 4.5 game edge over the second place Phillies.

Over in the American League the playoff picture is also coming into focus. In the divisional races the Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox, and Houston Astros have all but clinched their respective titles.

The Rays own an 8 game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East, while the bitter rivals, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, are both 9 games back. Meanwhile the Chicago White Sox sit atop a mountainous 12 game advantage over the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central, and in the AL West the Houston Astros are ready to blast off with a 6.5 game spread over the Seattle Mariners.

As to the AL Wild Card race, the Blue Jays (81-63) own the top spot with the Red Sox (80-64) and Yankees (81-65) knotted for the second spot, just 2 games ahead of the Mariners (78-66).

Enough about that, how about those Brewers!

All season long the Brew Crew have been getting the job done with superb pitching and timely hitting. In fact, two of Milwaukee’s starting pitchers, Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, rank in the league’s top-10 in both earned run average and strikeouts. Add to this a top-ranked bullpen and the game’s top closer, the arms race belongs to Milwaukee.

Oddly enough, despite a potent offense, not a single Brewer is listed in the top 10 of any batting category. But no need to worry. Milwaukee’s run production is powered by a balanced assault with everyone contributing rather than relying on one of two hitters to carry the load. This type of offense is particularly dangerous as there are no weaknesses for opposing teams to probe and exploit.

I know it’s early and I don’t want to jinx it, but as things stand now the Brewers look to be the team to beat in the race for the NL Pennant — knock on wood!


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