What has been inevitable for weeks is now official: the Milwaukee Brewers are the 2021 NL Central champions. The Brewers clinched the division title Sunday afternoon with their 8-4 win over the Mets. Milwaukee had already clinched a postseason spot last week, though now the club knows it will avoid the win-or-go-home Wild Card Game.
The Brewers had been in sole possession of first place in the NL Central since June 23, two games into an 11-game winning streak. Milwaukee clinched the division in front of an announced sellout crowd of 43,430 at American Family Field.
The Brewers last won the NL Central in 2018, when they beat the Cubs in a Game 163 tiebreaker to clinch the division. This is only Milwaukee's third division title since moving from the AL Central to the NL Central 1998. They also won the division in 2011 and 2018. The Brewers also won two division titles during their time in the AL East (1981 and 1982).
Legendary Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker got into the fun and joined the team picture afterward:
And of course there was the clubhouse celebration:
Milwaukee is locked into hosting the NL East winner in the NLDS. They can not catch the NL West winner for the best record in the National League nor can the NL East winner catch the Brewers and steal away home-field advantage in NLDS. The Brewers will host either the Braves or Phillies when the NLDS begins on Friday, Oct. 8.
Although the Brewers are locked into hosting the NL East winner in the NLDS, their six remaining regular season games are not truly meaningless. They still have a chance to finish with a better record than every American League team, which would clinch home-field advantage in the World Series should Milwaukee advance that far. There's still something on the line.
No matter the round or their opponent, the Brewers will be a formidable team in October. They have three high-end starters atop the rotation (Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff), , and a dynamite bullpen led by closer Josh Hader. Also, the offense has scored above the National League average rate this year.
This is Milwaukee's fourth straight trip to the postseason -- they'd never before qualified for the postseason in more than two straight seasons prior to this run -- and is a reminder they've become one of MLB's model organizations under manager Craig Counsell and president of baseball operations David Stearns.