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Know Your Enemy: Milwaukee Brewers

In which White Sox fans are conflicted about who we want to win

Bernie Brewer is not a guy who should be driving.
| Liv Lyons/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Weird series coming up for the White Sox. We always want to root-root-root for the home team — unless they are on the road, in which case we have nothing but contempt for the home team, and wish their fields to go barren and salt to rain from the sky. But in this lost season, Sox fans might want the Brewers to win, in order to stay in first in the NL Central.

That’s what it’s come down to this year. Atavistic anti-Cubs sentiment militating against our human desire for victory. So it’ll be a clash of emotions as the Brewers head south on 94 to play their old AL enemies, our White Sox. At the worst, it’ll be a nice weekend at the ballpark.

The Sox are 208-181 all-time against the Brewers, almost all of which came in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

So How Are They Doing, Anyway?

The Brew Crew are in first place in the NL Central, but only 2 1⁄2 games ahead of the Cubs and the slumping Reds. They have a 75% chance of making the playoffs, per FanGraphs, but still seem like an 85-win type of team. So they’re good, but obviously not particularly great. They have a team OPS+ of 90, well worse than league average, and only ahead of dregs like the Rockies, the A’s, and the AL Central. Pitching-wise, Milwaukee is also middling.

The Brewers are pretty top-heavy, and that should carry them to the playoffs, but they’ll have to have some of their lower-level rotation guys and spot-start journeymen get hot for them to make any noise.

Are the Hitters Fearsome? Need I Worry About Dingers?

You basically have Willy Adames and Christian Yelich to worry about, dinger-wise, and neither of them even have 20. William Contreras is having a decent season, and Joey Weimer, who really looks and reads like he was born to play in Milwaukee, can sometimes get a hold of one. But overall, not a ton of hitting on this team. They don’t score a lot of runs, which is the goal of hitting, I think.

And the Pitching Matchups? What of Them?

The Brewers are in the top third in terms of runs allowed per game, which is what is keeping them flush in the NL Central.

Friday, August 11
Sox: Michael Kopech (5-10, 4.43) has improved peripherals as the season grinds on, but still refuses to have consistent control.

Brewers: Corbin Burnes (9-6, 3.42) has overcome a mid-season slump to be pitching at All-Star form again. Where he goes, so goes Milwaukee.

Saturday, August 12
Sox: Jesse Scholtens (1-4, 3.06) is ready to give the fans some thrills!

Brewers: Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.65) is pitching just his second game after being hurt in April. Though he took the loss, he pitched well, striking out nine over five innings. His health and effectiveness could help the Brewers make noise in October.

Sunday, August 13
Sox: Dylan Cease (5-5, 4.42) rebounded from a disastrous start against Texas to pitch well against the Yankees. Hopefully he’s at peace with remaining untraded. Would you be, though?

Brewers: Freddy Peralta (8-8, 4.28) is extremely middling this year, and not a guy who you feel great throwing out in a playoff game.

Why Do We Hate Milwaukee?

I don’t hate Milwaukee. I love the city. Love the culture, the food, the revitalized waterfront, the walkability, the traces of an old factory town, the Germanic overtone, the streetside hot-dog carts, the beer, everything. Milwaukee is great.

It’s when you get out into the suburbs and the surrounding counties that you encounter Grim Wisconsin, from which bloodless ghouls like Scott Walker and Rience Priebus matriculated, declaring war on schoolteachers and selling off the DNR to whatever corporation offered them chump change. It’s where they do a vampiric impression of basic Midwestern sensibilities and say that it is just good old-fashioned common sense to allow bauxite in the drinking water. It’s where they take what is good about Wisconsin — its stunning natural beauty, its devil-may-care attitude toward having fun, its farmer-labor sense of community — and make it into cheap commodity and discard the best parts.

These are the kinds of people who go to Brewers games and tell you how much they hate Milwaukee, and assume you know why, and sympathize. It’s gross. Driving west out of Milwaukee is to drive into a land where kindness is seen as weakness. It is ruled by human stoats who want to export that vision into the rest of America. Long may Milwaukee’s human weirdness frustrate their dreams.

Why Do We Hate the Brewers?

Again, I certainly don’t. I always felt that if Chicago teams all just up and vanished, or if I were to become a sports bigamist, Milwaukee would be my team. I like the Brewers, and I like the Bucks, and am somehow able to convince myself that they exist in a different realm than the Packers. I just wouldn’t have a football team in this case.

Because, honestly, that’s my main drawback about rooting for the Brewers or the Bucks. I loved when Milwaukee won the NBA championship a few years ago. I thought that was great — fun team, fun fans. But then I remembered that happy Bucks fans, or happy Brewers fans, means that people who root for the Packers are also happy. And dammit, that I cannot abide!

Let’s Hear it From White Sox Fans!






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