MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - The Milwaukee Brewers open the second half of their season Friday night, when they open a three-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The next 9 games could give Milwaukee its last chance to get into playoff contention this year – either by making a move in the National League Central, or by grabbing one of two NL Wild Cards.
The Brewers are five games below .500, and they’ve been held back by a struggling bullpen and inconsistent hitting. But if they can find a way to get it together, the Brewers came gain some big ground in the Central – because their next 9 games are all against teams ahead of them in the division.
Pittsburgh is the surprise leader in the Central at 48-37, followed by Cincinnati and St. Louis.
If the Brewers don’t make hay against those teams, they might have to trade some impending free agents like Zack Greinke – so they can stock up on younger players ready to go for next year. But general manager Doug Melvin is not at that point yet. He wants to wait and see where the Brewers are at after the next 9 games.
Right now, they’re 8 games out of the division lead, and 6 games back for a Wild Card.
Friday night, right-hander Greinke will become the first big league pitcher since 1917 to start three consecutive regular season games in the same year. The Pirates will put up right-hander James McDonald. Pregame on WTAQ is at 6:35 p.m., first pitch at 7:10 p.m.