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MLB - US Sports: Can the Milwaukee Brewers end their World Series wait?

The Milwaukee Brewers have another real opportunity to grab their first World Series. If everyone can stay fit and healthy and their batters continue to produce, then why not?

Brewers the ones to catch

Milwaukee sit at the top of the National League Central, 2.5 games ahead of their nearest rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite having an eight-game losing streak at the start of June, the Brew Crew have always managed to stay just ahead of the Cards.

The Brewers have never won the World Series, winning an American League pennant in 1982, defeating the California Angels, before losing to the Cardinals in their only World Championship appearance.

Since joining the National League, the Brewers have reached the playoffs on six occasions, winning the NL Central on three occasions and reaching October via the Wild Card positions, also three times.

Counsell deserves credit

Milwaukee have reached the playoffs every year for the past four seasons. This has been largely due to the progressive management of Craig Counsell, the former Brewer who had two playing spells with the franchise in the 2000’s.

In 2015, Counsell joined as team manager, his first Major League Baseball job, and has slowly built up a reputation that has seen his side win more than lose.

This was acknowledged in June this year when Counsell became the Brewers manager that has won the most games in franchise history beating Phil Garner's record of 563 victories. 

However, despite winning two NL Central titles, Counsell has not seen his side progress further than the National League Championship series defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018. The 51-year-old has led his team in 17 postseason games and won just seven of them. How can they get over this hurdle?

It would help if they didn't come up against a side that was in better form than them. Twice in the playoffs in the past four seasons, they have come up against the Dodgers and lost. In 2020, Los Angeles went on to win the World Series.

Since returning from the All-Star break, the Brewers have won their last three games against the Colorado Rockies. On Sunday, Milwaukee won a close affair 10-9, with closer Josh Hader collecting his 28th save of the season.

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Brewers breaking loose

The Milwaukee bats had been quiet prior to the All-Star break, but so far they have broken loose and hit Colorado for 25 runs so far in the series. Is this where Milwaukee can strengthen? 

Milwaukee ranked eighth amongst NL teams with 417 runs prior to the break, including an average of just 3.5 per game during their final 11 games of the first half. It seems that the batters have woken up.

Speaking to the official Milwaukee Brewers website, outfielder Andrew McCutcheon said: "We understand our ballclub. Believe me, I've been a part of teams that get down early and the game is over already. This team isn't like that. We're down, whatever.

"We have a ballclub that can put up three, four or five runs in an inning. We're capable of doing that. We just have to stay within ourselves and understand that if you're leading off an inning, you can't hit a five-run homer. Just chip away, get the next guy up. We've been able to do that. We were able to do that today."

McCutcheon's philosophy appears to be don't panic. Despite having only the maximum of a 4.5 lead over the Cardinals in May, the Brewers keep getting pushed by their divisional rivals. Maybe this is what is keeping Milwaukee top. That they can't afford to lose.

The Brewers face St.Louis a further seven times, five of those away from home. Milwaukee have played against the Cardinals on 11 occasions this season, St. Louis had edged the games 6-5.

Frustration for Peterson

Injuries have hit the Brewers at various times this season and they have been dealt another blow at the weekend after utility player Jace Peterson was ruled out for an extended period. 

Peterson was placed on the 10-day injured list after spraining his elbow at the end of June and this injury has gradually got worse, where he can't continue to play.

Frustration comes after Peterson was having his best season as a Major League Baseball player. The 32-year-old is hitting .252 this season with a career-high eight home runs and 10 steals.

Milwaukee already have on the injured list, pitcher Adrian Houser (elbow) who is out till August at the earliest. Relief pitcher Miguel Sanchez (arm) has no return date, and starting pitcher Freddy Peralta (shoulder) has been missing since May, and could be available for the postseason.

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