The Brewers playoff hopes aren’t exactly of life support yet, but the Reds dealt them a blow to begin the final week of the season.
Milwaukee dropped two-of-three in Cincinnati this week, as their offense continued its tumultuous trek through 2020. They now sit just outside of the final Wild Card spot at 27-28.
The Brewers are 0-9 in games that could’ve lifted them above a .500 record, including two of those losses in this series alone.
Castillo Outlasts Woodruff in Opener
Milwaukee’s offense once again showed no love to Brandon Woodruff in Monday’s 6-3 loss. The Crew’s run support has been among the league’s worst when Woodruff pitches, giving him just 2.67 runs per game.
Ironically, Reds’ starter Luis Castillo is in the same company as Woodruff at only 2.64 runs per game of support, but the Reds gave him enough this time to get the win.
Woodruff went 5.2 innings and allowed just two runs on four hits with the only damage coming on a Eugenio Suarez homer that chased him in the sixth.
Jedd Gyorko gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the fifth. But after Suarez’s shot gave the Reds the lead, all hopes of a comeback were dashed as Drew Rasmussen served up a pair of dingers to Curt Casali and Mike Moustakas in the eighth.
Jace Peterson added a last gasp, two-run homer in the ninth.
Crew Comes Back in Game Two
For all the lack of early inning scoring, the Brewers have had to claw back in many games this season, and Tuesday’s 3-2 win was no different.
After giving up a 2-run homer to Nicholas Castellanos in the first inning, Brett Anderson settled in and allowed Milwaukee to crawl back.
Tyrone Taylor launched a solo shot to center off Sonny Gray to cut the lead in half. Then in the 7th, the Brewers rallied off Gray’s replacement, Tejay Antone. Daniel Vogelbach led off with a single, and Gyorko followed with a double. Orlando Arcia hit a sacrifice fly to score Vogelbach, and Eric Sogard doubled home Gyorko to give the Brewers the lead.
Devin Williams continued his outstanding and torrid rookie campaign, striking out five of the six batters he faced. Josh Hader pitched a clean ninth for his 11th save.
Despite the early homer, Anderson tossed six strong innings, allowing only four hits while striking out seven.
Bauer Stymies Crew in Finale
Pitching on short rest, Reds’ starter Trevor Bauer cruised through eight innings as he lifted Cincinnati to a 6-1 win.
Bauer struck out 12, and the Reds got homers from Joey Votto, Jesse Winker, and Suarez to best a lifeless Brewers offense.
Bauer may have very well locked up the NL Cy Young Award with his performance. He currently leads the league in strikeouts (100), ERA (1.73), and WHIP (0.79).
Adrian Houser got the start for Milwaukee and was familiarly shaky, giving up four runs (three earned) in 4.1 innings. Houser is now just 1-6 on the season with a 5.40 ERA. He has not won a decision since his second start of the season back on August 5.
The lone Brewers run came on an RBI double by Arcia in the fifth.
Of the Brewers’ 27 wins, 16 of them have been the come-from-behind variety. That certainly speaks to the mettle of this year’s team, but it doesn’t exactly bode well for a deep playoff run should the Brewers make it.
It’s been a bit of a broken record touching on the subject of the dearth of early scoring. The Brewers have been outscored 53-24 in the first two innings this season.
When you consider teams will be sending their best pitchers to the mound in the playoffs, the chances of continuing the trend of comeback wins in postseason play will be that much slimmer.
It All Comes Down to This
Milwaukee is virtually deadlocked with five other teams for the final four playoff spots as they head to St. Louis for the final five games of the season. The Cardinals hold the edge with a 27-26 record, while the Reds, Marlins, Giants, Phillies, and Brewers are all separated by just one game.
The Giants own the final spot as of now, one game ahead of the Brewers, but are scheduled to play five games against the Padres this weekend. The Phillies face the AL East Champion Rays for a three-game set.
There will be no Game 61s this year. All tiebreakers will be determined by head-to-head records, which makes this upcoming series that much more important.
The Reds hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Brewers, while Milwaukee holds a slight 3-2 edge over the Cards.
Due to COVID-related postponements early in the year, St. Louis will finish the regular season with two fewer games played than other teams. MLB has determined these games will only be made up if playoff spots are on the line. Should the Brewers take three-of-five and both teams finish at .500, it’s very likely the Cards will be forced to play them out.
Corbin Burnes (4-0, 1.77 ERA) will take the mound for the Brewers in the opener, making his final case for the NL Cy Young Award. He can also become the Brewers’ first ERA title winner. The Cards will counter with Kwang Hyun Kim (2-0, 1.59 ERA).