Milwaukee Brewers - TeamReport
MLB Team Report - Milwaukee Brewers - INSIDE PITCH
ST. LOUIS -- The team that spent 150 consecutive days in first place now needs help to make the playoffs.
Cardinals with nine games remaining, but it also shoved Milwaukee 3 1/2 games in arrears of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the race for the National League's second wild-card spot.
Simply put, even if the Brewers score a sweep of the Pirates this weekend at PNC Park, they will need the Atlanta Braves or the Cincinnati Reds to beat Pittsburgh at least once in the final week to regain control of their destiny.
Given that the Pirates have won 11 of 13 and Milwaukee is 6-11 in September, that kind of scenario registers as a long shot at best. Even winning two of three doesn't really help the Brewers at this point.
Right fielder Ryan Braun admitted the loss was really difficult, considering how badly Milwaukee needed the result. But he said the team can only worry about winning at this stage.
MLB Team Report - Milwaukee Brewers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost two
NEXT: Brewers (RHP Yovani Gallardo, 8-10, 3.59 ERA) at Pirates (LHP Jeff Locke, 7-5, 3.66 ERA)
--RHP Kyle Lohse pitched a great game Thursday night but came away with nothing after RHP Jonathan Broxton allowed the Cardinals to tie the score in the eighth. Lohse gave up four hits and a run over 7 1/3 innings, reversing a trend from the last two seasons. St. Louis peppered him for a 6.63 ERA entering the night, handing him losses in five of six decisions.
--RHP Yovani Gallardo starts Friday night at Pittsburgh in the opener of a critical three-game series, hoping to continue a career-long trend of owning the Pirates. He is 12-5 with a 2.67 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) against Pittsburgh, including a 1-1 mark in five starts and 30 1/3 innings this year. He is coming off a 5-1 loss Saturday night against Cincinnati that dropped him to 0-4 with a 5.26 ERA over his past five starts.
--3B Aramis Ramirez was the subject of a report Wednesday that suggested the Brewers would pick up their half of a $14 million mutual option for 2015, although general manager Doug Melvin shot it down quickly. Ramirez, who went 2-for-6 Thursday, is hitting .293/.338/.442 with 15 homers and 65 RBIs in 125 games. He missed time with a left hamstring injury. Milwaukee doesn't appear to have a suitable internal option to take Ramirez's place next year.
--2B Scooter Gennett had ice around his left hamstring after playing all 13 innings of Thursday night's game and going 2-for-6 with an RBI. It is an injury Gennett has played with through the season's second half. He might not play Friday night in Pittsburgh, although that could have more to do with the Pirates starting LHP Jeff Locke than Gennett's health.
--RHP Francisco Rodriguez warmed up in four consecutive innings Thursday night, preparing to come in for a save opportunity if Milwaukee took a lead. However, the Brewers never got in front, and Rodriguez was icing his arm after the game as though he pitched. Given the number of pitches he threw in the bullpen, it is fair to wonder if he will be available for a save chance Friday night against the Pirates.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We certainly missed plenty of opportunities. Any time you lose a game at this point of the season, the magnitude grows. But this didn't come down to a single play." -- RF Ryan Braun, after the Brewers' 3-2, 13-inning loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.