After making quick work of the Colorado Rockies, the Milwaukee Brewers now face the reigning NL champion Dodgers for a spot in the 2018 World Series.
There are plenty of reasons to like Milwaukee’s chances to win it all this fall. They are red hot and the postseason is all about who is playing their best baseball in October. Their bullpen has been absolutely shut-down and their hitters are putting lots of pressure on the opposition.
Many are likely flocking to their computers to place a futures World Series winner bet on Milwaukee. You could blindly join them, but we prefer to let the numbers dictate our decisions.
Let’s take a peek at the story the numbers are telling us before we do anything hasty.
The Brewers Are Red Hot
Here is what the Brew Crew accomplished both before and during the month of September.
|Sept. Record||Sept. Runs/G||Sept. Runs Allowed||Non-Sept. Record||Non-Sept. Runs/G||Non-Sept. Runs Allowed|
The first thing to note is that the Brewers have been solid all year. They were always in the thick of the playoff hunt but were never seriously considered a World Series contender.
And then September hit …
A 73.1% winning percentage while allowing less than 3 runs per game showed the league just how dominant this squad could be when in peak form. The pitching obviously picked it up last month. Bad defense can spoil good outings so let’s look at the defense also.
It turns out the Brewers had the third-worst fielding percentage in the NL this year. This does not complement a strong pitching staff and could come back to bite them in a big spot in October.
The Brewers do rack up a ton of strikeouts which makes the bad fielding percentage more stomachable by potential bettors, but it is still a bit unsettling. In football, a good kicker can put a team over the top while a poor one can cause his team to lose a close game. Defenses are the kickers of the MLB, especially in the playoffs.
The Brewers Do Not Blow Leads
If you are looking for a reason to put faith in the Brewers, look no further than the fact that they do not blow leads. Get this – since September 2, Milwaukee is 16-0 in games they led after 6 innings.
This speaks volumes about the effectiveness of their bullpen and Craig Counsel’s ability to push the right buttons. How are the Dodgers in this area?
Not too shabby – a perfect 13-0 themselves. I see this series being decided by two factors: which bullpen will falter and which team will score first and get the early leads.
The first factor is nearly impossible to predict. We can guess that because the Brewers have a more inexperienced pen they will crumble, but this is not a solid basis for a bet.
Instead, let’s try to see if either team has a propensity to score early in games. Below is the amount of times each side has scored 2, 3, and 4 runs respectively in the first 3 innings of a game in September.
|Team||2+ Runs in 1st 3 Inn||3+ Runs in 1st 3 Inn||4+ Runs in 1st 3 Inn|
This is not great news for the Brewers – here is why. The Brewers strengths right now are their shut down bullpen and their momentum. Los Angeles is more talented on paper, not to mention more experienced.
Unfortunately for the Brewers, the Dodgers also are very hot. LA had to fight the entire month of September to earn a spot in the postseason just like Milwaukee. As the numbers indicate, the Dodgers also have an immaculate pen.
If the Brewers are unable to leverage their strengths in this series, it will come down to whichever side possesses more talent. You may still want to bet the Brewers to win it all, but that involves them getting past LA.
After doing my due diligence, I am going to have a difficult time betting against the Dodgers in this series.