Craig Counsell knows how to get a team into October. Over the past five seasons, theBrewers manager has led his team to a September winning percentage of .603. Only theDodgers,Rays andAstros have been better closers in that time. Milwaukee has reached the postseason four straight seasons. But this time the numbers appear stacked against Milwaukee. The Brewers have 21 games to run down either thePadres orPhillies for a wild-card spot. Might as well add one more game to those deficits because Milwaukee lost the season series to San Diego and Philadelphia, so the Brewers lose on both tiebreakers. The tiebreak against the Padres was decided June 5 when Counsell did not bring back one-inning specialist Josh Hader to pitch the 10th after a 15-pitch ninth inning. Jake Cronenworth homered off Trevor Gott for the decisive Padres win. Figure the win total the Brewers likely will need is 89. That means Milwaukee will have to finish 147with starters Eric Lauer, Aaron Ashby and Freddy Peralta on the injured list, and a strikeout-heavy, low-batting-average offense that relies on home runs to win https://www.padresplayersshop.com/454-jake_cronenworth_jersey. The Brewers havent won four games in a row in six weeks, during which they are 1922. Looks ominous, right? But one thing we have learned about Counsell and his Brewers is they squeeze every bit of edge out of each game and each season. They clinched playoff spots each year from 2018 through 21 with no more than three games remaining. They are the best team in baseball at winning one-run games over the past five seasons . What is their narrow path to an NL wild card this time?1. The Phillies or Padres collapseUnder manager Rob Thomson, the Phillies are playing cleaner baseball with better defense and situational hitting. Philadelphia does have 12 games remaining against theBraves Andy Benes Jersey, AstrosandBlue Jays, but it looks poised to break the NLs longest playoff drought.San Diego has trouble with the Dodgers , with three more to play against them. Its starting pitching should be good enough to avoid a meltdown, but San Diego has been wildly inconsistent this season. Juan Soto and Josh Bell, both slugging under .400 with their new team, have not jolted a mediocre offense. The Padres finish with nine at home against the Dodgers,White SoxandGiants.2. Home cooking Milwaukee is in a stretch of playing 20 of its final 26 games at home, where it is 3927. . No more two-city trips. No more games out of the Central time zone.3. Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff Over the past two months the Brewers are 106 when their two aces take the ball. Theyll get it eight more times. The Brewers need at least six wins in those eight games because of uncertainty about the rotation depth.4. Continued revival from Christian Yelich His skill set now defines him as an elite leadoff hitter, no longer the extra-base machine and run producer he was in 2018 and 19. In the leadoff spot his OBP is .392. Only Paul Molitorever got on base at a better rate for Milwaukee in at least 70 games out of the leadoff spot. Back on July 27, Yelich was so frustrated with his career-worst rate of ground balls that he junked his leg kick for a toe-tap mechanism. It worked for a bit, but after five weeks his slug with the toe tap was just about the sameas it had been before Steve Garvey Jersey, so he dropped the toe tap Sept. 5 inColorado. With his first swing after returning to the usual leg kick, he hit a 499-foot homer. He has slashed .300/.382/.500 since then.Yelich isnt the same power threat he was a few years ago as a perennial MVP contender Pierce Johnson Jersey, but hes finding success as a viable leadoff man.AP Photo/David Zalubowski5. More lockdown relief from Devin Williams The trade of Haderon Aug. 1 may seem like a turning point for Milwaukee , and the deal created brief clubhouse confusion, but Hader wasnt throwing the ball well at the timeand has been even worse with the Padres . Since he replaced Hader as closer, Williams is six of seven in save chances. Matt Bush, Brad Boxberger and Taylor Rogers are solid go-to setup guys for Counsell in close games.Watch Brewers games live with fuboTV: Start a free trial today!6. The next eight The next week is dangerous. The Brewers cant win a playoff spot in the next week https://www.padresplayersshop.com/257-cito_gaston_jersey, but they could lose it: two games in St. Louis against theCardinals, followed by a six-game homestand against theYankeesandMets. But Milwaukee does have a knack for rising to the occasion. This year the Brewers are one of only seven teams to have played at least .500 baseball against winning teams . Thats better than the NL Centralleading Cardinals , Philliesand Padres . Baseball Reference gives the Brewers just a 29.9% chance of reaching the playoffs. FanGraphs gives them a 25.7% chance. But history, if not the math, is on their side. In recent years, these have been the spots in which Counsells teams have responded.Sign up for the Five-Tool Newsletter to get all our MLB coverage in your inbox every Friday during the 2022 season.