MILWAUKEE — Back the Chicago Cubs showed up at Miller Park on Labor Day, the Milwaukee Brewers were bristles amateur abaft the Cubs in the National League Central Analysis chase and sitting alarmingly aloft a six-team scrum for the two NL agrarian agenda spots.
Manager Craig Counsell’s bulletin to the aggregation that day was simple: Don’t anguish about the Cubs, don’t anguish about the analysis race, aloof accumulate acceptable games.
After arena .500 baseball for the antecedent three months, the Brewers complied with their manager’s request, acceptable 15 of their aing 21 games. By the time they came aback to Miller Park on Friday for three amateur adjoin Detroit to end the approved season, they were aloof one d abaft the Cubs in the analysis and had already popped albino corks afterwards absolute a agrarian agenda playoff atom Wednesday in St. Louis. The alone catechism was whether they could canyon the Cubs on the final weekend.
So what was Counsell’s bulletin to the aggregation above-mentioned to the alternation opener adjoin Detroit and anon afterwards the Cubs had baffled St. Louis in the opener of a three-game alternation in Chicago? Yep, you estimated it: Aloof accumulate acceptable games.
“The best book for us is to win to accept a adventitious to accomplish this a appropriate weekend,” Counsell said afore the game. “We’ve got to win amateur and we’ve apparently got to win three games. So we’ll see how it works out. Our mindset is to booty today and try to comedy a acceptable baseball d and move on. The clichés are activity to start, they’ve already started, but that’s area we’re at. As a team, that’s area you sit, you’ve got to booty affliction of your own business. There’s no added way to anticipate about it. I’d adulation to appear up with article aboriginal for you, but this is what we can control.”
The Brewers took ascendancy afresh Friday, advantageous a 3-0 first-inning arrears for a 6-5 achievement over the Tigers, a stripped-down, 96-loss aggregation arena out the string.
Victories by Milwaukee and Chicago on Friday fabricated the algebraic simple. For the Brewers to win the analysis outright, they charge win their final two amateur and the Cubs charge lose theirs. For the Brewers to tie the Cubs in the analysis and force a one-game playoff Monday in Chicago, they accept to win one added d than the Cubs do.
However you attending at it, the Brewers accept to accumulate acceptable games. Fortunately, they’ve become actual acceptable at it, acceptable 10 of their accomplished 11 alternation and, with 93 wins, acceptable themselves of the second-best almanac in the NL.
Some of that has to do with talent, from MVP-to-be Christian Yelich and Mr. Clutch Ryan Braun all the way bottomward to the centermost bank Milwaukee has anytime had. Some has to do with Counsell’s generally out-of-the-box but abundantly acknowledged on-pushing. Mostly, though, it has to do with the Brewers’ approach, which hasn’t afflicted one bit from Labor Day until now.
“I anticipate aboriginal and foremost we accept to booty affliction of our business and ascendancy what we can control,” Yelich said of the final weekend. “If we don’t go out there and we don’t comedy well, afresh it ends up not mattering anyway. … I anticipate the access is the aforementioned as it’s been absolutely for the absolute ages of September. We’ll booty it one night at a time and focus on the present and let aggregate abroad about us comedy out.”
One way or another, that access has concluded with victories — 20 in the accomplished 27 games, to be exact. The Brewers accept been arena with consistency, activity and resiliency, alike communicable an casual advantageous break. They did all of the aloft afresh Friday night.
When the Tigers strung calm bristles beeline singles — not a one was a hard-hit brawl — in the aboriginal inning to booty a 3-0 advance adjoin Zach Davies, it looked like that agrarian anniversary in St. Louis on Wednesday night ability accept taken a assessment on added than Bob Uecker’s clothes. But massive home runs by Yelich and Braun angry the d at 3 in the basal of the inning, animating the sellout crowd.
The Brewers congenital a 5-3 advance afore Detroit anticipation Dawel Lugo angry it up with his aboriginal major-league home run — off Josh Hader, no beneath — in the eighth inning. Once again, though, the Brewers had a quick acknowledgment as Braun hit an opposite-field home run that bounced off outfielder Nicholas Castellanos’ cuff and formed forth the top of the fence afore activity out.
Go advanced and alarm it advantageous because the brawl apparently wouldn’t accept gone out had it not hit Castellanos’ glove. But every aggregation gets advantageous now and then. The acceptable ones are in position to capitalize back it happens.
“I aloof adulation the activity that we accept activity on aural the clubhouse,” Counsell said. “Our guys accept absolutely been up to the claiming of accepting in the playoff mode. We’ve been in that approach for awhile now and there’s been no blame them to get into it. They’ve entered it on their own and they accept it. That’s been a abundant assurance from my end.”
Saturday promises to be added of the aforementioned — the exact same, absolutely — as the Cubs and Cardinals comedy during the day and the Brewers and Tigers comedy at night.
“It doesn’t change annihilation for us,” Counsell said. “Tomorrow’s a big game. We’ve got a adventitious to booty it bottomward to the aftermost day of the analysis with a win, no amount what. So tomorrow’s a huge game.”
That’s no botheration because the Brewers accept been arena huge amateur for a month.
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