MILWAUKEE — The Cubs thought they got their fill of the Brewers in 2018, when Milwaukee went 7-0 the final week of the season to catch the Cubs in the standings, then beat the Cubs in the tiebreaker to celebrate their Game 163 clincher at Wrigley Field.
But get a load of this year.
Three lost series to the Brewers in April alone, a three-game sweep in June by a 19-run margin, a four-game sweep at Wrigley in August by a 28-run margin and a four-walk, four-run eighth inning Friday that gifted the Brewers their 10th straight win over the Cubs.
About all that’s left is for the Brewers to clinch a postseason berth or another division title against the Cubs — which Friday’s 8-5 loss to the Brewers kept in play during this final series of the season between the teams.
“I don’t think you ever really enjoy a division rival celebrating in front of you,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Don’t love that.”
Not that it matters a lot — even to the Cubs — at this point, with the Cubs long ago eliminated and the Brewers in command of the division for two months, reaching 90 wins with Friday’s comeback over the Cubs.
“We’ll try to play good baseball and give them a run for their money,” Ross said. “But I’m pretty certain they’re going to win the division. I’ve swallowed that. We’ve moved on past that.”
But with the Brewers’ magic numbers down to two for clinching a playoff berth and four for the division, the Cubs have a chance to watch the Brewers celebrate clinchers either of the next two days.
A Brewers win over the Cubs combined with a Padres loss to the Cardinals Saturday would be the postseason berth clincher for the Crew — but keep the Cardinals alive for the division for at least a game past the weekend.
A Brewers sweep of the Cubs and Padres wins the next two days over the Cards would clinch a second division title in four years for the Brewers — the second time in history they’d clinch by beating the Cubs.
Not to mention finishing off by far their best season ever against the Cubs (the 14-3 mark, by the way, already clinching that distinction).
“They’ve been good for a while now,” Ross said. “And they’ve definitely had our number this year. So we’re going to try to kick their butt this weekend. But they’ve definitely established themselves as one of the better teams in Major League Baseball. And it’s nice to come in here with a newer group and see how we line up with that.”
Not much better than with how they lined up before the trade deadline — even on a night they didn’t trail until the bullpen’s late-inning debacle.
Cubs pitchers walked nine in the game, including two that eventually scored and two more that forced in runs.
“Just in general we’ve gotta not give free passes,” Ross said.