WP: Aaron Wilkerson (1-0); LP: Jack Flaherty (0-2); Save: none; Home runs: Mil - Brett Phillips (4), Jesus Aguilar (16); StL - Randall Grichuk (22)
Aaron Wilkerson made a strong statement for next season’s starting rotation by going seven innings of two-hit ball and gaining his first Major League win in the Brewers’ 162nd and final game of 2017. Randall Grichuk’s 22nd homer broke up his shutout in the bottom of the seventh after a pinch single by Jose Martinez’ sixth inning pinch single had broken up Aaron’s perfect game. He walked none and fanned five in his seven innings. Wilkerson’s second start took his season ERA from 8.10 to 3.48. He had excellent control of hit fastball, cutter, and slider. Granted, the Cards’ lineup consisted mostly of AAA players. The two hits came from major leaguers. But still....
The Brewers started with a bang against St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty. Walks to Eric Sogard and Eric Thames surrounded a single by Jonathan Villar, and Jesus Aguilar one-handed a flyball to right-center to drive in Sogard, the first of two long one-handed hits by Jesus (this is called foreshadowing). After Hernan Perez struck out, Brett Phillips homered to deep right-center and Milwaukee was up 4-zip.
That would be enough. The Brewers really didn’t threaten again until the top of the eighth. With one down, Thames dumped a ground rule double down the leftfield line, and Aguilar one-handed a ball 417’ into the left-centerfield stands.
Carlos Torres had the bottom of the eighth and put runners on first and second with a walk and a single, and then a slow roller to short netted a force at second with one down. Only it didn’t...Villar neglected to put his foot on second base. Just a little season-ending gift from Tootblan himself. That’s kind of a tootblan, isn’t it?
Anyways, Torres retired the next three batters to preserve the five run lead - a result as unexpected as the Brewers 86 win season. With a no-save situation Taylor Williams took the ninth and had a walk and two strikeouts. Williams will get a shot at the pen next year.
An odd situation occurred in the second inning. Perez started the game at third, with Sogard at short. There was some talk on the game thread and the game broadcast of Perez playing all eight positions (or nine, if he pitched) in the game, and Perez moved to short for the second inning. It did pay off, as a sharp groundball to Hernan’s right by Aledmys Diaz would not have been an out with Sogard at short. Perez’ throw nipped Diaz, although he was originally called safe but out on review. (Diaz left with a pulled leg muscle.)
But then Perez went back to third base for the rest of the game, and he never got to catch in the game, which would have given him time at every position this season. I was unable to watch Craig Counsell’s presser after the game, so I don’t know if this was discussed.
So that’s it. No games until next season, when the Brewers open in San Diego. Well, except for the Cactus Cup, of course. Just an off season full of optimism.