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How close are the Brewers to a playoff spot? Let’s take a closer look at the standings

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Brewers leftfielder Andrew McCutchen reacts after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Dodgers on Aug. 18.

Brewers leftfielder Andrew McCutchen reacts after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Dodgers on Aug. 18.

Entering Aug. 23, the Brewers were 1½ games back from the nearest playoff spot, though it’s really 2½  back since Milwaukee doesn’t have a tiebreaker advantage with its nearest competitors, the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies.

The Brewers surely would rather win the National League Central Division title, but they’re five games behind a St. Louis Cardinals team that has a much easier schedule going forward.

If the Brewers win the division, they’ll get paired against the third wild-card winner in the NL in the opening round of the playoffs, with a best-of-three series in Milwaukee.

If the Brewers grab the third wild-card spot, they’d likely face the NL Central champion Cardinals for a best-of-three in St. Louis. Buckle up for that one. The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are running away with the top two positions in the playoffs and would get first-round byes.

If the Brewers are able to ascend to the second wild-card spot, they’d face the first wild-card winner, likely Atlanta, in a best-of-three series in Georgia in a 2021 playoff rematch.

Here’s where the Brewers stand relative to the other teams battling it out for the final NL playoff spots:

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (48) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (48) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Busch Stadium.

Standings (through games of Aug. 22)

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

  • St. Louis 70-51

  • Milwaukee 65-56 (5 games back)

NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD CARD

(three teams earn playoff berths)

  • Atlanta 76-48 (8 games ahead of second place, 9½ ahead of Brewers)

  • Philadelphia 67-55

  • San Diego 68-56 (tied with Phillies)

  • Milwaukee 64-56 (1½ game back)

Milwaukee Brewers (65-56)

Games behind in Central: 5

Games behind wild card:

Games remaining against winning teams: 12

Games remaining on road: 15

Games remaining at home: 26

What if the Brewers tie with Phillies or Padres? The Brewers do not have a tiebreaker with either team and, with no Game 163 anymore, would miss the playoffs if it comes down to a tied record. They also would be left out of any three-way tie.

What if the Brewers tie with the Cardinals? The Cardinals hold the tiebreaker with a one-game edge in the season series. Milwaukee must win three of the final four games between the teams to gain the tiebreaker edge.

  • 2 at Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 3 vs. Chicago Cubs (52-69)

  • 3 vs. Pittsburgh (47-75)

  • 4 at Arizona (55-66)

  • 3 at Colorado (53-70)

  • 2 vs. San Francisco (60-61)

  • 3 vs. Cincinnati (48-72)

  • 2 at St. Louis (70-51)

  • 3 vs. New York Yankees (75-48)

  • 3 vs. New York Mets (79-45)

  • 4 at Cincinnati (48-72)

  • 2 vs. St. Louis (70-51)

  • 4 vs. Miami (53-69)

  • 3 vs. Arizona (55-66)

St. Louis Cardinals (70-51)

Aug 14, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) hits a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers during the second inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 14, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) hits a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers during the second inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Games ahead in Central: 5

Games remaining against winning teams: 13

Games remaining on road: 21

Games remaining at home: 20

An easy remaining schedule: There are some scheduling quirks here, but the Cardinals have the easiest road of any contenders with a tenuous playoff spot.

St. Louis has two doubleheaders on its docket and a trip out west featuring stops in both San Diego and Los Angeles just before coming to Milwaukee for what promises to be a pivotal set. The Cardinals also close the season with six straight against the Pirates, three at home then three on the road. In all, St. Louis will close the season with 11 of 14 on the road. But the team has 21 games remaining against the three worst teams in the NL (Washington, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh) and seven more against the Cubs, tied for the fourth-worst team.

Should Brewers fans cheer for the Padres or Cardinals head-to-head?: We’ll have a much clearer picture when the teams meet Sept. 20-22. The Brewers still have a chance to bypass both, though right now the Padres look like the easier foe to catch.

  • 4 at Chicago Cubs (52-69)

  • 3 vs. Atlanta (76-48)

  • 3 at Cincinnati (48-72)

  • 3 vs. Chicago Cubs (52-69)

  • 4 vs. Washington (41-82)

  • 3 at Pittsburgh (47-75)

  • 2 vs. Milwaukee (65-56)

  • 5 vs. Cincinnati (48-72)

  • 3 at San Diego (68-56)

  • 3 at Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 2 at Milwaukee (65-56)

  • 3 vs. Pittsburgh (47-75)

  • 3 at Pittsburgh (47-75)

San Diego Padres (68-56)

Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) pitches in the first inning July 27, 2022 against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) pitches in the first inning July 27, 2022 against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Games ahead of Phillies for second wild card: tied

Games ahead of Brewers:

Games remaining against winning teams: 19

Games remaining on road: 18

Games remaining at home: 20

Josh Hader Watch: The former Brewers closer has appeared in five games for San Diego, most recently on Aug. 19, when he had a second straight disastrous outing. He didn’t retire a batter, allowing a walk, single, the first career home run for Wisconsinite Alex Call and also committed a throwing error. He took the loss in a 6-3 setback against the worst team in baseball, the Nationals.

  • 2 vs. Cleveland (64-56)

  • 3 at Kansas City (50-74)

  • 3 at San Francisco (60-61)

  • 3 at Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 3 vs. Arizona (55-66)

  • 3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 2 at Seattle (66-56)

  • 4 at Arizona (55-66)

  • 3 vs. St. Louis (70-51)

  • 3 at Colorado (53-70)

  • 3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

  • 3 vs. Chicago White Sox (62-60)

  • 3 vs. San Francisco (60-61)

Philadelphia Phillies (67-55)

Aug 6, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos (8) runs to first base after hitting a single against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 6, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos (8) runs to first base after hitting a single against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Games ahead of Brewers for final wild card:

Games behind Padres for second wild card: tied

Games remaining against winning teams: 12

Games remaining on road: 21

Games remaining at home: 19

Finishing with a long road trip, but…: The Phillies theoretically have a tough finish to the season with 10 road games, closing with three against American League West heavyweight Houston, though the team with the best record in the AL probably won’t need to go all out at season’s end.

When’s Bryce Harper due back? The Phillies have done a lot of this damage without Harper, out since June with a broken thumb. He’s getting close to a rehab assignment and could be back by the end of the month.

  • 3 vs. Cincinnati (48-72)

  • 3 vs. Pittsburgh (47-75)

  • 3 at Arizona (55-66)

  • 3 at San Francisco (60-61)

  • 3 vs. Miami (53-69)

  • 3 vs. Washington (41-82)

  • 3 at Miami (52369)

  • 3 at Atlanta (76-48)

  • 2 vs. Toronto (65-55)

  • 4 vs. Atlanta (76-48)

  • 3 at Chicago Cubs (52-69)

  • 4 at Washington (41-82)

  • 3 at Houston (78-45)

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or jradcliffe@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers battling Cardinals, Padres, Phillies for NL playoff spot

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