~~Success Versus Cardinals Necessary by Andrew Dunn-Bauman
The Brewers are off to an incredible start to the 2014 season. With a nine-game winning streak already in the books, the Crew owns the best record in the MLB at 10-3. Things have been clicking on all cylinders in Milwaukee, but there still remains a thorn in the sides of players and fans alike: The St. Louis Cardinals.
Monday night the Cardinals rolled into town and robbed everyone in the city of Milwaukee of free burgers, snapping the Brewer winning streak just one game shy of double digits. The loss dropped the Brewers’ record against the Cardinals to 11-24, dating back to the start of the 2012 season.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from time to hit the panic button. April has been much kinder so far than I had ever anticipated (minus the weather) for Milwaukee, and I’ll take the best record in the MLB at any juncture of the season, obviously. For fans freaking out about losing to the Cardinals, let’s remember that this squad from St. Louis was slated by almost every pundit to win the NL Central in the preseason. They’re good. Really good. The loss was amplified by the fact that it busted a huge winning streak, but no one could have realistically expected the Crew to sweep the Redbirds.
Now, that doesn’t excuse the Brewers from ever beating the Cardinals. Quite the opposite. For this team to contend in the Central this year, they need to be competitive with the Cards. At least close to .500 ball against them. Back in 2011, when the Brewers won a franchise record 96 regular season games, they played the Cardinals even at 9-9. But that was against a weaker division than the NL Central this year (the Astros were still in the NL in 2011, that’s all you need to know). Wins against division opponents will be at a premium this season (minus the Cubs) so the Brewers cannot afford to be handled by the Cardinals if they want to contend for the postseason.
The Crew has two games left in this set against their rivals from Missouri, and if they fail to win either, the Brewer fan base will go catatonic. The team can absorb this kind of result, but players and fans alike feel it’s high time to make a statement. Jonathan Lucroy said on the Bill Michaels show this morning “I feel like we’re better than (the Cardinals) are.” Let’s see the Crew prove it.
For Brewer updates and live tweets from Miller Park, follow Andrew on Twitter @ADBinMKE