The Chicago White Sox were and still are running away with the AL Central Division, and now the Milwaukee Brewers are starting to dominate and take over the NL Central.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a very similar article about a very similar situation that is going down in the AL Central, and here we are again. Now, they are a far-stretched eight games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the division, and at this point, they are a guarantee to make the NL playoffs.
While the National League is sure to be a super-competitive battle when October and playoff time come around, the Brewers are positioning themselves to make a strong run.
There are obviously a plethora of reasons that the Brewers have been able to extend their lead in this division so far, but there are a few that stand out.
The Brewers are running away with the NL Central, and here’s why.
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The NL Central is Weak in Comparison to Other Divisions
Much like the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, a good amount of the Brewers’ success has to be attributed to the competition they face in their division.
While the NL Central is not as bad as the AL Central (the White Sox are the only team above .500 in the AL Central), they still only have two teams above .500, and the other team, the Cincinnati Reds, is eight games back.
The Brewers have the luxury of being able to face three teams that have mightily struggled throughout this season on multiple occasions. The Chicago Cubs have completely dismantled their roster, which will lead to easy victories for the Brewers down the home stretch. The St. Louis Cardinals have been one of the most inconsistent teams in baseball. And then there is the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are just downright awful.
Their domination over this division can be seen through their terrific 31-18 record within their own division. What may be even more impressive is that they are 19-6 against the NL West, which may prove very telling come playoff time.
Either way, this division has allowed for the Brewers to have an immense amount of success, and it will not stop anytime soon.
Players Have Stepped Up with Christian Yelich’s Struggles
Despite an off-year in the Covid-shortened season last year, the Brewers have been one of the strongest teams in baseball in the past four years. And recently, much of that success has been because of MVP-like seasons from former Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich.
That has not been the case this year.
Yelich is having one of his worst statistical seasons and by far his worst season as a member of the Brew Crew. He is batting .230 has suffered a stretch of injuries, and has only been able to muster up 6 runs and 28 RBIs in 67 games. Meanwhile, players like Kolten Wong, Avisail Garcia, and Willy Adames have had stellar seasons and individual performances.
Outfielder Avisail Garcia leads the entire team in both home runs, 18, and RBIs, 66.
Adames came over from Tampa Bay in May after an early-season trade, and it could not have gone better for the Brewers. He has the best team WAR at 3.8, is tied with Garcia at 18 home runs, and has batted home 57 runners. He has been an absolutely amazing addition for the Brew Crew.
Kolten Wong has statistically had his best season from the plate, and his defense has been otherworldly.
Players like Omar Navarez and Luis Urias have also been extremely consistent on the offensive end, leading the Brewers to one of the best team averages in the league.
A Dominant Rotation
Led by a three-man, well-oiled machine of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta, the Brewers have the third-best rotation ERA in all of baseball at just around 3.40.
Woodruff is having a stellar season, boasting a 2.26 ERA, striking out 152 batters in 131.1 innings, and only allowing 83 hits.
Peralta is right there with him, recording an ERA of 2.17, leading the team with 8 wins, and only allowing an astounding 47 hits in 108 innings. That is absolutely remarkable.
Then there is Corbin Burnes, who also has an ERA lower than three at a 2.46 and has pitched the third-most innings for the Brewers at 106 innings. He boasts a WHIP of 0.97, has only walked 20 batters all season, and has struck out the same amount of batters as Woodruff at 152.
To be able to say you have three starting pitchers who have WHIPs below 1.00 is amazing, but the Brewers are lucky enough to have that honor.
The Brewers torching of this division has been much like the Chicago White Sox domination in their respective Central division. They are both led by extremely talented pitchers at the top of their rotation, have respectable starters and a bullpen to back it up, and both teams maintain some of the most consistent lineups in the major leagues. There is no question why both of these teams sit where they are.
Will another team be able to stretch their division lead to such lengths as the Brewers and White Sox? Doubtful, but only time will tell.