The Giants are still just barely in the playoff race and they open up a 4-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers tonight at home for this last crucial stretch before the trade deadline. If you want to see good baseball, buy cheap tickets, and are into booing players who have awful personal beliefs, then StubHub can get you in the door with tickets for Friday night’s game starting at $6.
It was September 17th, 2010. The fledgling Giants had taken 3 out of 4 in San Diego to tie the then-division leading Padres and 2 out of 3 in San Francisco from the Dodgers to lead the NL West by half a game. The Brewers came into town at 67-78, 15.5 games back of the division. But they took the first 2 games of that 3 game series thanks to Randy Wolf and Yovani Gallardo. The Giants won the final game of that series to reclaim and hold onto their half game division lead, and we know what happened after that. The 2014 Giants have the 2014 Brewers thank for their World Series title, too, for amidst the Giants’ historic collapse, the Brewers collapsed, too.
Here in the present day, the Giants could use another assist from the Brewers for a playoff run, but these Brewers seem a little more determined to hold the line versus the 2014 squad. They’re only 9th in the National League in runs scored (with only a 92 wRC+ as a team; Giants at 93), but they’re #1 in the NL in ERA- (the pitching version of wRC+) with 87, meaning they’re 13% better than the league average. The Giants, by comparison are at 102.
Their run differential puts them, like the Giants, right around where their actual record stands and even though the Brewers have lost 10 of their last 15 games, they’re still 10 and 12 for the month, only 2.5 games behind the Cubs for the NL Central lead, and are 1 game up on the Braves for the 1st Wild Card. The Giants trail them by 4.5 games in that race, so a sweep would be catastrophic.
Given the length of the series, both teams will effectively throw their best at each other for the duration. There will be no Facebook game in this 4-game series, but Bruce Bochy won’t be managing Sunday’s finale. A reminder that the Brewers’ manager is Craig Counsell, former thorn in the Giants’ side.
They have a young, formidable batting order (average age: 28.6) led by Jesus Aguilar and Christian Yelich, an experienced rotation having a largely positive season, and a bullpen that has combined for 305 strikeouts in 253.2 innings. The Brewers have all the angles covered, but they’ll still be playing the Giants on their home turf.
Hitter to watch: Jesus Aguilar is their power-hitting first baseman who beat out Brandon Belt in the NL Final Vote for the All-Star Game (thanks, Seattle fans) and, actually, the fans got it right. His 25 home runs put him in a 4-way tie for tops in the National League with Matt Carpenter, Bryce Harper, and Nolan Arenado and compliment a 152 OPS+. The Brewers claimed him off of waivers from the Cleveland Indians in February 2017.
Pitcher to watch: Former All-Star and National Leaguer Wade Miley has returned from the wastelands of the American League, having signed a minor league deal with the Brewers this offseason, and is slated to start game 1. He’s made just four starts with the major league team so far, but he’s allowed 4 runs and struck out 11 in 17.1 innings, though his 11 walks and 12 hits suggest he doesn’t quite have pinpoint command. Still, he is left-handed, and even if Evan Longoria were to be activated before tonight’s game (he won’t be), Miley is setup to do very well.
Prediction: Come on. You already know. A split.