By Jeff Falconio
Well The Yost Guard is officially sunk. And if you believe a lot of the talk around here, so are the Brewers playoff chances. A 5 1/2 game wild card lead at the start of September evaporated in a very forgettable weekend in Philadelphia. We all knew Ned Yost would get the majority of the blame if the Brewers didn't make the playoffs so apparently management decided to beat the rush and make the move two weeks early. Rejoice, Yost haters! Your time has arrived. But now all the talk is about the timing of the move and how will the team react to such a jarring conclusion.
So here we have a lifeless team now going up against the NL's best on the heels of an unprecedented September firing. Throw in the towel, right? Well, hold on. First, I checked the Major League Baseball rule book and apparently you only need to win the wild card by one game. There's no clause that says if you start September with a 5 1/2 game lead you must end the month with a lead just as big. Of course, after the Philly debacle, you wonder if the Brewers will get even one win, let alone the seven or so that'll be necessary to hold off the Phils.
But there are two things to consider as this series with the Cubs begins tonight. First, CC Sabathia is pitching tonight and will get two more starts before the end of the year. Ben Sheets will also likely get three starts. The top two guys will start half of the remaining 12 games. All eyes are on the Brewers now and for two guys looking to strike it rich in the offseason, this is the perfect chance to prove they can pitch in the clutch. Second, in a weird way, having Philadelphia sweep that series might be the best thing to happen to the Brewers chances of making the postseason. Take a look at that NL East. Once again the Mets are fading down the stretch and if there's a team other than the Brewers fighting desperately to ward off last year's demons it's the Mets. New York is on the road this week and then has a big series against Chicago next week, a series that could be the division clincher for the Cubs.
It's been said that a thousand mile journey begins with the first step. For the Brewers, the 1000 miles that make up the next 12 games begins tonight with the guy brought in to put the Crew over the top. This is why you got Sabathia in the first place and with Yost out of the way, it's all up to Sabathia and company to take that first step.