What a year it has been for the Brewers.
Remember when they were facing the possibility of being without Ryan Braun for 50 games?
Remember when Rickie Weeks was one of the worst players in the majors for an extended period of time?
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Remember when the Brewers traded Zack Greinke because they were "sellers" at the trade deadline?
Through all that turmoil and more, a legitimate playoff contender has emerged. The Brewers head into Wednesday only 2½ games out of the final NL playoff spot, currently occupied by a familiar name in Milwaukee -- the St. Louis Cardinals.
Behind big contributions from Aramis Ramirez, Norichika Aoki and Corey Hart, in addition to Braun putting up MVP-caliber numbers and Weeks' resurgence, the Brewers' offense is again a force. In the past month, they are averaging almost exactly six runs per game.
Meanwhile, Axford hasn't blown a save in his past 11 chances and the Brewers are 21-6 since Aug. 19. They now have two weeks to complete their rise from the dead. If they do, anything can happen. We've seen these late-surge NL teams end up in the World Series (2007 Rockies) or even win it ('11 Cardinals) recently.
Rankings, comments and stats are through Tue., Sept. 18. Please feel free to contact me via email with comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.