COMMENTARY | Usually, your team is only as good as the competition it can defeat. That's what makes games against the best of the best significant no matter when they take place in the season.
It may only be April, the first of six months of regular-season baseball the Milwaukee Brewers will play, but that doesn't mean these games don't matter.
The Brewers are already faced with series against three of the most talented teams in the National League in the month of April -- the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. As if going up against these teams alone isn't enough of a challenge, Milwaukee is a team plagued with injuries and inconsistent pitching early on this season.
Let's break down these three upcoming series and find out what the Brewers can expect to see:
April 12-14: @ St. Louis Cardinals
A familiar division foe, the Cardinals have had bullpen and injury issues of their own in the early going. In fact, they have a very similar approach to that of the Brewers -- score enough runs so it doesn't matter how bad your 'pen performs.
If the Cincinnati Reds are going to win the Central Division like everyone is projecting then Milwaukee will have to get past St. Louis for a potential wild-card berth. Yovani Gallardo, who has struggled against the Cardinals throughout his career, is scheduled to pitch on April 13, and Kyle Lohse will miss pitching against his former team by one game.
April 16-18: vs. San Francisco Giants
The defending World Series champions, San Francisco has one of the best starting rotations -- and closers -- in all of baseball. Milwaukee does have the benefit of playing them at Miller Park, although the Brewers are 1-5 in their home stomping grounds this season.
The Giants also tend to be a team that comes on in the later part of the season, just as the Brewers did in 2012. Lined up to start for San Francisco in the series are Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain. For the Brewers? Wily Peralta, Kyle Lohse and Mike Fiers.
April 26-28: @ Los Angeles Dodgers
By this point of the season, it's possible the Brewers will be out of the playoff race (maybe kidding) when they travel to the City of Angels to face the richest team in the National League. The Dodgers are paying a lot of people a lot of money, including former Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke, so we'll see if that translates to any sort of success.
If the current pattern holds up, Greinke will start April 28. Milwaukee will be fortunate enough to avoid Clayton Kershaw, perhaps the best pitcher in the game, but that lineup is no joke. The Brewers hope to be much healthier by this point of the season.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who contains an unhealthy amount of knowledge about Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline and as a featured columnist among other sites and publications.
You can follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_ .
- Sports & Recreation
- Milwaukee Brewers
- San Francisco Giants
- Los Angeles Dodgers