How close are the Brewers to a playoff spot? Let’s take a closer look at the rating

Brewers left fielder Andrew McCutchen reacts after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Dodgers on August 18.

Brewers left fielder Andrew McCutchen reacts after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Dodgers on August 18.

Entering Aug. 23, the Brewers were 1 ½ games out of the closest playoff spot, though it’s really 2½ back since Milwaukee doesn’t have a tiebreaker advantage with its closest rivals, the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies.

The Brewers would certainly prefer to win the National League Central Division title, but they are five games behind a St. Louis Cardinals who have a much easier schedule going forward.

If the Brewers win the division, they will be paired against the third wild card winner in the NL in the opening round of the playoffs, with a best-of-three series in Milwaukee.

If the Brewers clinch the third wild card, they will likely face the NL Central champion Cardinals for a best-of-three in St. Louis. Click for it. The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are tied for the top two playoff spots and will receive a first-round bye.

If the Brewers can move up to the second wild card, they will face the first wild card winner, likely Atlanta, in a best-of-3 series in Georgia in a 2021 playoff rematch.

Here’s where the Brewers stand in relation to the other teams battling for the final NL playoff spot:

The starting pitcher for St.  Louis Cardinals shortstop Jordan Montgomery (48) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Busch Stadium.

The starting pitcher for St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jordan Montgomery (48) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Busch Stadium.

Standings (through August 22 games)

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

WILD CARD NATIONAL LEAGUE

(three teams earn playoff spots)

  • Atlanta 76-48 (8 games ahead of second place, 9½ ahead of Brewers)

  • Philadelphia 67-55

  • San Diego 68-56 (tied with Phillies)

  • Milwaukee 64-56 (1½ games back)

Milwaukee Brewers (65-56)

Games back at Central: 5

Games behind wildcards:

Games remaining against the winning teams: 12

Games left on the road: 15

Games that stay at home: 26

What if the Brewers tie with the Phillies or Padres? The Brewers don’t have a tiebreaker with either team and, with 163 games left, would miss the playoffs if they ended up with an even record. They would also be left out of any three-way tie.

What if the Brewers tie with the Cardinals? The Cardinals hold the tiebreaker with a one-game advantage in the season series. Milwaukee must win three of the last four games between the teams to clinch the tiebreaker lead.

  • 2 at Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 3 vs. Chicago Cubs (52-69)

  • 3 vs. Pittsburgh (47-75)

  • 4 in Arizona (55-66)

  • 3 in Colorado (53-70)

  • 2 vs. San Francisco (60-61)

  • 3 vs. Cincinnati (48-72)

  • 2 at St. Louis (70-51)

  • 3 vs. New York Yankees (75-48)

  • 3 vs New York Mets (79-45)

  • 4 at Cincinnati (48-72)

  • 2 vs. St. Louis (70-51)

  • 4 vs. Miami (53-69)

  • 3 vs. Arizona (55-66)

St. Louis Cardinals (70-51)

August 14, 2022;  St. Louis, Missouri, USA  The designated player of St.  Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols (5) hits a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game 2 at Busch Stadium.  Mandatory credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

August 14, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA The designated player of St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols (5) hits a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game 2 at Busch Stadium. Mandatory credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the games at Central: 5

Games remaining against the winning teams: 13

Games left on the road: 21

Games that stay at home: 20

An easy remaining program: There are some scheduling quirks here, but the Cardinals have the easiest road of any contender with a weak playoff spot.

St. Louis has two doubleheaders on its docket and a trip out west with stops in both San Diego and Los Angeles just before coming to Milwaukee for what promises to be a pivotal set. The Cardinals also end the season with six straight against the Pirates, three at home and three on the road. Overall, St. Louis will finish the season 11 of 14 on the road. But the team has 21 games remaining against the three worst teams in the NL (Washington, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh) and seven more against the Cubs, tied for fourth-worst.

Should Brewers fans cheer for the Padres or Cardinals passionately?: We will have a much clearer picture when the teams meet on September 20-22. The Brewers still have a chance to overtake both, though right now the Padres seem like the easiest foe to catch.

  • 4 at Chicago Cubs (52-69)

  • 3 vs. Atlanta (76-48)

  • 3 at Cincinnati (48-72)

  • 3 vs. Chicago Cubs (52-69)

  • 4 vs. Washington (41-82)

  • 3 at Pittsburgh (47-75)

  • 2 vs. Milwaukee (65-56)

  • 5 vs. Cincinnati (48-72)

  • 3 at San Diego (68-56)

  • 3 at Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 2 in Milwaukee (65-56)

  • 3 vs. Pittsburgh (47-75)

  • 3 at Pittsburgh (47-75)

San Diego Padres (68-56)

Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) pitches in the first inning on July 27, 2022 against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) pitches in the first inning on July 27, 2022 against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Games ahead of the Phillies for the second wild card: tied up

Games ahead of the Brewers:

Games remaining against the winning teams: 19

Games left on the road: 18

Games that stay at home: 20

Watch Josh Hader: The former Brewers closer appeared in five games for San Diego, most recently on Aug. 19, when he had a second straight disastrous outing. He didn’t retire a batter, allowing a walk, solo, first career home run to Wisconsinite Alex Call and also committed a throwing error. He took the loss in a 6-3 rout against the worst team in baseball, the Nationals.

  • 2 vs. Cleveland (64-56)

  • 3 in Kansas City (50-74)

  • 3 in San Francisco (60-61)

  • 3 at Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 3 vs. Arizona (55-66)

  • 3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 2 in Seattle (66-56)

  • 4 in Arizona (55-66)

  • 3 vs. St. Louis (70-51)

  • 3 in Colorado (53-70)

  • 3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 3 vs Chicago White Sox (62-60)

  • 3 vs. San Francisco (60-61)

Philadelphia Phillies (67-55)

August 6, 2022. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.  Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos (8) runs to first base after hitting a single against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Citizens Bank Park.  Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

August 6, 2022. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos (8) runs to first base after hitting a single against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Games before the Brewers for the final wild card:

Games behind the Padres for the second wild card: tied up

Games remaining against the winning teams: 12

Games left on the road: 21

Games that stay at home: 19

Ending a long road trip, but…: The Phillies theoretically have a tough finish to the 10-game road season, closing with three against Houston in the American League West, though the team with the AL’s best record likely won’t have to make it at the end of the season.

When is Bryce Harper coming back? The Phillies have done a lot of that damage without Harper, aside from a broken thumb in June. He is coming up on a rehab mission and could be back by the end of the month.

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or jradcliffe@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers battling Cardinals, Padres, Phillies for NL playoff spot

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