Brewers' bats fueling comeback

After dealing with offseason scrutiny, Ryan Braun has been his same old self at the plate. Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire

Last week, we mentioned that the Milwaukee Brewers were threatening to move from extreme spoiler to actual playoff contender. The threat is over, as the Brewers, fresh off a week in which they won five of six -- including a sweep of the Atlanta Braves -- are now firmly lodged in the playoff race with two weeks to go in the season. The Philadelphia Phillies had put themselves in prime position as well, winning seven straight through Wednesday, but losing three of four over the weekend to the Houston Astros has taken the shine off of their run.

Nevertheless, both teams moved up one spot in the ESPN Power Rankings this week -- Milwaukee from 17th to 16th and Philadelphia from 16th to 15th -- and with the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates not asserting themselves in the race for the second National League wild-card berth, the Brewers and Phillies are very much alive.