With the start of September, we are officially in the stretch run of the season. And it begins with what might be their toughest remaining test of the regular season in the form of the Milwaukee Brewers. (Yes, I know they have a series against the Braves this month, but they might have clinched everything there is to clinch by that point.)
When they squared off earlier this season, the Phillies offense had trouble with the Brewers’ pitching staff. With the Phillies’ bats coming off a record-setting month, we’ll see if they fare better this time around.
Record: 74-59, First place in National League Central
The last time they met
When the Brewers came to Philly in July, they split the first two games before Corbin Burnes shut the Phillies down in the finale.
What’s the deal with the Brewers?
They can’t hit much, but that hasn’t stopped them from winning games. Much like the Phillies, they had a strong July, going 17-9, which included an eight-game winning streak. However, they’ve now lost two in a row since that streak ended, so the Phillies might be catching them at a good time.
They can’t hit?
Not really. They’ve got the second worst team batting average in the NL and the lowest slugging percentage. Those numbers improved somewhat during their hot August, but they’re still towards the bottom of the league.
Our face when we hear people confident the Brewers offense won’t let us down.— Made Wiley (@trustinhorst) August 24, 2023
This doesn’t mean that Christian Yelich or William Contreras won’t get big hits against the Phillies as they usually do. It just means that the Phillies probably won’t have to play from behind quite as much as they did against the Angels.
But they can field
The Brewers rank as one of the best defensive teams by most metrics. Apparently, that still counts for something these days. Sal Frelick is showing that Johan Rojas isn’t the only rookie outfielder who can make an instant impact on his team’s defense.
SAL FRELICK AGAIN!— ClutchPoints MLB (@ClutchpointsMLB) July 23, 2023
Frelick gets his second leaping catch of the inning for the Brewers defense.pic.twitter.com/2Vr9qGauxo
And they can pitch
The Phillies will miss Burnes this time around, but they will face Freddy Peralta and Wade Miley, both in the midst of strong seasons. However, the Brewers haven’t yet announced a starter for Saturday's game and might have to rely on a bullpen game.
Saturday’s mystery starter notwithstanding, this should be a good test for the Phillies’ lineup. Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner, and Bryce Harper blasted home runs with abandon against the Cardinals and Angels, but we’ll see if that continues against the caliber of starter that they’ll likely face in the postseason.
Speaking of those home runs, if you’d like to watch all of them, here you go:
The Phillies hit 59 HR in August. Only 2 other teams in baseball history have hit more homers in any month. It is the most home runs hit by any National League club in the month of August. Here are all 59 of them https://t.co/tPU7MUh7ai— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 31, 2023
Fun historical fact about the Brewers
The Brewers have never won the World Series, and their lone appearance came over 40 years ago.
The Brewers as an MCU villain
Without any power to speak of, it doesn’t seem like Zemo should pose much of a threat to the Avengers. But somehow, his convoluted plan actually works, and he beats them.
a big criticism of Captain America: Civil War i used to hear a lot when the movie was new is that Zemo's plan was way too risky but i always felt that this scene emphasizes why that is exactly. pic.twitter.com/c2mENzbY5t— . (@_imawake_) August 29, 2023
Last series’ answer: In the Wild Card series against the Cardinals, Alec Bohm was the lone Phillies caught stealing. Nobody was able to answer correctly.
This series’ question: Since the start of the 2013 season, who is the Phillies’ franchise leader in RBIs in Milwaukee?
This should suck...but it doesn’t
I watched the first season of HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones and thought it was okay. Danny McBride is in full Kenny Powers mode which can get slightly grating after a while, and some of the commentary the show makes felt a little too obvious. However, one highlight of the show is the song “Misbehavin’.”
In the context of the show, it was a Christian rock song originally performed by children and then revived after they’ve grown up. It shouldn’t be good, but darned if it isn’t catchy as all get out.
It reminds me of when the adult Jacksons used to perform “I Want You Back.” There’s no reason that the song - originally sung by a preteen Michael Jackson - should still sound good when he’s an adult. And yet it does.
Based on their schedule and the way their best hitters have rounded into form, there’s no excuse for the Phillies to not capture the top Wild Card spot in the NL. With an eye towards the postseason, it would be nice if the hitters could continue to send balls over the fence at a prodigious rate when facing good pitching. If they can continue to mash against the likes of Peralta and Miley, then I’ll start to feel very good about their chances in the playoffs.