A quick glance at our MLB standings page -- which, because it is automatic for the people, includes run differentials and playoff projections -- will tell you that the Milwaukee Brewers have a slim lead in the NL Central and are playing at a 93-win place.
That's impressive enough for the reigning division champs, but they've achieved all that despite playing the toughest schedule in all of MLB to date. On average, the Brewers' opponents this season have an average 2019 win percentage of .526. Next in line are the Cardinals and Diamondbacks with a mark of .516. At the bottom of the list is White Sox with .464. While you don't see as much strength-of-schedule variation in MLB as you do in other leagues, that's still a significant spread. Framed another way, the Brewers have, on average, played an opponent that's somewhere in between the Rockies and Rangers every game this season.
The good news for Milwaukee is that the team's schedule is about to lighten up in a big way. They're about to play 26 straight games against teams that currently have losing records. The specifics:
- Three games, @ Giants
- Three games, @ Padres
- Four games, vs. Reds
- Three games, vs. Mariners
- Three games, vs. Pirates
- Four games, @ Reds
- Three games, @ Pirates
- Three games, vs. Giants
That stretch right now amounts to an average opponents' winning percentage of .442 -- i.e., weaker than what the White Sox, owner of the weakest docket of all, have played thus far.
Prior to their recent two-game mini-set against the Astros, the Brewers played 10 in a row against losing teams. That's their longest stretch of losing opponents so far, but now they're about to get 26 in a row.
The bad news for Milwaukee is that a month from now the schedule will roughen up once again -- in part that's the nature of playing in the NL Central. So it's important for the Brewers to fatten up during this rare respite. If they can, say, win at least two-thirds of their games over the next month, then that will qualify as getting the job done. Anything shy of that would amount to squandering an opportunity and perhaps cost them dearly when it comes to the expected death-struggle with the Cubs.