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Hot month not enough to save Brewers’ season

July 22, 2015

This is the team the Milwaukee Brewers expected. It just came a few months too late.

After a mediocre start to the season, the Brewers entered Wednesday as one of the hottest teams in baseball. No team has won more games since June 23, and their 17-6 mark ranks second only to the Los Angeles Angels, by one loss. Going back over their last 30 games, the Brewers’ 18-12 record is third overall and tied for first in the NL.

The hot streak has been powered in large part by a much-improved offense. Over the last month, the Brewers own an MLB-leading .298 average and .364 on-base percentage, while their .463 slugging percentage and 127 runs rank second. They’ve also slugged 26 home runs and tallied 45 doubles, both second-best in the NL.

Gerardo Parra has led the way, putting up a slash line of .373/.424/.687 as one of baseball’s hottest hitters. He’s also hit five home runs, seven doubles and two triples, while scoring 19 runs and driving in 12. With just over a week until the July 31 deadline, Parra quickly has become one of the Brewers’ best trade pieces.

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Brewers pitchers have been similarly strong, ranking sixth with a 2.91 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .230 average.

There’s just one major problem: the Brewers still are far from contending for a playoff spot. Between their terrible start (16-34) and the toughest division in baseball, even the wild card remains wishful thinking.

Despite going 26-18 since May 31, Milwaukee has actually lost ground in the division race, going from 161/2 games to 171/2 back. They’ve fared slightly better in the wild card race, gaining two games and moving to nine back.

Much of this problem lies within the NL Central.

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Over the last 50 games, the top four teams in the NL are the Pirates (33-17), Cardinals (32-18), Brewers (26-24) and Cubs (26-24). Since May 31, three of MLB’s top five come from the Central, with the Cubs close behind in eighth.

Make no mistake, the Brewers’ hot streak is a good thing. It improves trade value and increases fan interest in coming out to the ballpark.

One great month just isn’t enough to save this season.

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