Win: Johnny Cueto (12-5)
Loss: Mike Fiers
Save: Aroldis Chapman (17)
MVP: Carlos Gomez (.076)
LVP: Ryan Braun (-.235)
The Brewers are 10.5 games back from first place. They were just swept by the division-leading Reds. If this series didn't convince Brewers management that the best option is to sell, then they are just being stubborn.
it's not even about there being a certainty that the Brewers will not make the playoffs. They could make the playoffs this year. Maybe they make a 2004-2005 Astros or a 2007 Rockies type run. That's totally possible. The team still has Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum and Corey Hart and, for now, Zack Greinke. They have Aramis Ramirez, who always heats up in the second half. They have Rickie Weeks, who could turn everything around and re-become the player he proved he could be. They have Mike Fiers, who has been having an amazing rookie season and who just pitched six five-hit innings against the Reds today.
The Brewers have these pieces. The kind of pieces where, if everything goes right, they could help the team to a magical couple months that saw them at least earn the second wildcard spot. It's possible. Any sane person would not tell you that it is impossible for the Brewers to make the postseason.
However, when a team is trying to figure out if they should sell at the trade deadline, you have to look at it as the probability of the team making the playoffs. Some teams might have a 50% chance to make the playoffs, others a 35% chance, some a 10% chance. Different general managers will have different thresholds where they will admit defeat and start trading off their players for future talents.
For Doug Melvin, that percentage likely has to be extremely low. Melvin has shown himself to be very stubborn about this kind of thing. Sometimes, that can be a good thing, other times it can be a bad thing.
At this point, I would estimate the Brewers chances to be somewhere below 5% right now. I'm sure Las Vegas or wherever else has more exact odds. That leaves that chance for the Brewers to pull out something special and make a truly historical run. However, when the chances that a team will make the playoffs are that low, it's time to sell. It's like in a political election. Candidates will give their concession speech before all the votes are in because it is so unlikely that they will pull off a victory.
Basically, this is a whole lot of words amounting to the Brewers should sell. If they can re-sign Greinke, great. If not, they need to decide on that soon.
Anyway, about the game. I mentioned Mike Fiers and his six five-hit innings. He only struck out four today, but walked none. He allowed two runs overall but just one was earned thanks to an error by his pitcher, Mike Fiers, on a pickoff throw. Kameron Loe, Manny Parra, and John Axford combined for two more shutout innings, with Axford facing two batters, giving up a hit and securing an out.
Despite ten hits, the Brewers offense wasn't able to give much run support. The team's only run came in the third inning, when Aramis Ramirez drove in Norichika Aoki, who had doubled to lead off the inning. That wasn't enough to overcome the two runs the Reds scored in the bottom half of the third. Chris Heisey singled and stole second base with one out, then was promptly driven in on a Wilson Valdez single. The failed pickoff attempt moved Valdez to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Reds a 2-1 lead they would not give up.
Aoki, Ramirez, and Martin Maldonado each picked up two hits for the Brewers while Ryan Braun had a rough day, going 1-5 with three strikeouts. The Brewers as a team struck out eleven times.
It's a battle of disappointments next, with the Brewers taking on the Phillies in Philadelphia. First pitch tomorrow is set for 6:05.