MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Craig Counsell stirred at 4:30 a.m. CT on Tuesday morning and checked his cell phone for the score of the late-night Rockies game. When he saw they had lost, Counsell rolled over and enjoyed another hour of sound sleep.Welcome to baseball's ultimate week of scoreboard watching.
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Craig Counsell stirred at 4:30 a.m. CT on Tuesday morning and checked his cell phone for the score of the late-night Rockies game. When he saw they had lost, Counsell rolled over and enjoyed another hour of sound sleep.
Welcome to baseball's ultimate week of scoreboard watching. The Brewers began their final playoff push Tuesday night with a 7-6 win over the Reds at Miller Park, then watched the Rockies and Cardinals win their games, as well. So the race for the National League's second Wild Card spot remained unchanged: The Rockies stayed 1 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers and 2 1/2 up on St. Louis.
Were the Brewers watching the out-of-town scoreboard for updates of those other games? Many admitted they were.
Go ahead and watch, Counsell said.
"Guys can look at the scoreboard and still be all right," Counsell said. "They wouldn't be here if they weren't able to focus on the right things. You don't just walk into a Major League Baseball uniform. You have a high level of skill and dealing with outside influences and pressures.
"The number of tests that have been thrown in front of us, to me, we've done a really good job with all of those tests. In a way, they've been scoreboard watching all season long if you really get down to it. It's a part of the game, and it's just one of the outside influences we all deal with on a daily basis."
As a Brewers player, Counsell was in the same situation in 2008, when Milwaukee was one game behind the Mets in the NL Wild Card race with six games to play. It came down to the final day of the regular season, when the Brewers beat the Cubs and watched the Marlins beat the Mets to send Milwaukee to the postseason for the first time in 26 years.
Just like that season, it's "win and wait" for the Brewers in 2017. They know they have to win as many of their five remaining regular-season games as they can, including three in St. Louis this weekend.
And they know they need some help from the Marlins and Dodgers in the Rockies' remaining four games.
"I caught myself thinking about looking out there, but I had a little bit more going on every time I thought about looking at the scoreboard," said catcher Stephen Vogt, who matched a Brewers record with three doubles against the Reds and made a critical defensive play for a run-saving out. "Obviously, we're watching. But if we do our part, if we take care of these next five games the way we know we can, the chips fall where they fall.
"This is fun. I think there's only a handful of teams playing meaningful games right now. We're one of them. That's all that matters. We're going to keep doing that. We're going to keep fighting every day."
Said Brewers starter Zach Davies: "You watch and you kind of see what's happening. But at the end of the day, it lies in our hands, too. You have to win ballgames. It doesn't really make any difference if you don't win enough games on your side. It's going to be a fun last five games."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.