The Milwaukee Brewers aim to punch their ticket to the postseason for the second straight year on Wednesday when they play the second contest of a three-game series against the host Cincinnati Reds.
Milwaukee (87-70) posted its fifth straight win and 16th in 18 outings with a 4-2 victory over Cincinnati (73-84) on Tuesday. The Brewers moved five games ahead of the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets for the final wild-card spot in the National League.
A Milwaukee win on Wednesday or losses by Chicago (versus Pittsburgh) and New York (against Miami) would clinch a playoff berth for the Brewers, although manager Craig Counsell admitted he has an eye on the NL Central title as well. The Brewers reside 2 1/2 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals, who fell 3-2 in a 19-inning marathon at Arizona on Tuesday.
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“I think we’re scoreboard-watching now, and we’re seeing what goes on in those other games,” Counsell said. “We’ll see what goes on in Pittsburgh and see what goes on in Arizona, too.”
Another stellar September has paved the way for Milwaukee, which rode a sizzling final month of the season in 2018 all the way to within one win of a World Series appearance.
“They’ve recognized what’s at stake,” Counsell said. “I think the common theme in both cases is we were chasing something, and that’s lent some urgency to everything we’ve done. And I think our players have responded really well to that sense of urgency.”
The Reds are dealing with a number of illnesses, with infielder Freddy Galvis, utility man Josh VanMeter and right-handers Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson and Keury Mella under the weather. “I think mine was just like a cold,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said after he fell ill last month. “I don’t think I had it as bad as those guys.”
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