The Milwaukee Brewers may own the best home record in baseball, but it’s still uncertain whether they’ll have home-field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Brewers attempt to tie the franchise record for victories by re-establishing their dominance over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night at Miller Park.
Milwaukee’s 55-24 home record - a franchise best - has helped the Brewers clinch their first division title since winning back-to-back AL East crowns in 1981 and 1982. However, the Brewers (94-66) are still concerned with seeding heading into the final two games of the regular season.
Vying for the second-best record in the NL, they’re one game ahead of West champion Arizona, which holds the tiebreaker due to winning the season series. Milwaukee could clinch home field for the first round Tuesday, but needs both a win over Pittsburgh (72-88) and a Diamondbacks defeat to Los Angeles to do so.
Finishing ahead of Arizona would also assure the Brewers of avoiding major league-leading Philadelphia in a divisional series.
They failed to pull away from the Diamondbacks on Monday, losing 9-8 to the Pirates to snap their 12-game home winning streak in the series. Milwaukee has still won 41 of its last 47 meetings with Pittsburgh at Miller Park.
“We’re still obviously in a good position where we control our own destiny, so if we take care of business and win the next two days, it doesn’t matter what they do,” NL MVP candidate Ryan Braun(notes) said. “It’s really important for us to try and win games and get home-field advantage.”
Milwaukee is one victory shy of tying the franchise record set in 1979 and equaled in 1982.
Brewers probable starter Randy Wolf(notes) (13-10, 3.61 ERA) will look to bounce back after going 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in his last two home outings. He also struggled on the road Wednesday, allowing six runs and 10 hits in six innings of a 7-1 loss at Chicago.
The left-hander dominated the Pirates through 6 2-3 scoreless innings of a 4-1 win at Pittsburgh on April 14, striking out a season-high 10 while limiting the Pirates to three hits.
“I’ve never denied I was looking at it,” Braun said. “I just know he ended up at .334 and I’m at .334. Just like everything else, it seems like it comes down to the last day. That’s how it should be. Makes it fun.”
However, Ohlendorf (1-3, 8.29) has lost his last three starts against the Brewers with a 4.76 ERA in those outings.
The right-hander gave up seven runs and 11 hits in five innings of an 11-4 home defeat to Milwaukee on Aug. 23. He also lost his only visit to Miller Park on Aug. 30, 2009.
Ohlendorf has lasted just two-plus innings in two of his last three starts, including an 8-5 loss at Arizona on Wednesday in which he surrendered seven runs and seven hits.
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