There are 162 games in a season.
Baseball is designed this way on purpose. The game is so unpredictable on a day-to-day basis that a season as short even as the NBA and NHL seasons of 82 games would not suffice to find the best teams — consider the state of the standings in mid-June, which would have seen the historically great Cleveland baseball team on the outside looking in.
In a 162 game season, no single game really means much of anything. You had or will have dozens of chances before, after, or before and after each game to handle your business. One game can never make or break you.
Except when it does. Except when you were so close, SO GOD DANG CLOSE, again, only to let it slip. Except when, in the hostile confines of your own stadium, you fumble away a must-win game for the second consecutive night.
In baseball, no single game really matters. Until it does.
THE KNIFE YOU NEEDED: Eric Sogard, +.174 WPA (1-for-4, RBI, BB)
10,000 SPOONS: Oliver Drake, -.464 WPA (0.0 IP, 3 H, BB, 2 ER, L)
They had chances. God, did they have chances.
I’m not a journalist. I went to school to be a journalist, but it didn’t work out. I realized fairly quickly that in the sports journalism game, you must be objective in your reporting, and rooting for one team or another is a fairly big no-no. This would always have been a deal breaker for me.
You can read a full recap from a level-headed mind all sorts of places, and we all know that 90% of you are only here to scroll right on down to the comment section to vent. Let’s skip to the messy bit.
In the top of the ninth, with a controversial runner on 2nd and two outs, Jeremy Jeffress — pushed into closing duties following a trio of nail-biters in Pittsburgh — got the ground ball he needed. It trickled through the infield, and Javy Baez fell ass backward into the game-tying RBI. Pandemonium set in at a heavily partisan Miller Park, a stadium the Brewers sublet from Chicago.
In the bottom of the ninth, with a runner in scoring position, Travis Shaw smacked the game winning hit, a sharp liner to left. Only, he hit it too hard — much, much harder than Baez hit his ball — and the runner wasn’t able to score. Domingo Santana struck out. So it goes.
The rest is history, but it was a certain future at the end of nine. Everyone in the building knew how it was about to go down — the Brewers haven’t won an extra inning game since 1984, and Kris Bryant was built in a lab dedicated to the destruction of Milwaukee happiness. Oliver Drake pitched. I guess that last bit was all I really needed to say.
NL CENTRAL: After another devastating loss, the Brewers have fallen 4.5 games off of the division lead, a nigh-insurmountable deficit with just 10 games to play. The Cubs magic number is down to six, and the Brewers will need to rebound quickly from a pair of horrific losses to avoid watching the Cubs celebrate a second straight division crown on their field.
WILD CARD: It’s a good news/bad news day in the race of the second wild card, as the Rockies dropped their fourth straight, losing 3-0 in San Diego. While the Brewers remain one game back of Colorado, they’re closer to the Cardinals, who sit just a half game behind Milwaukee after cruising to another win over Cincinnati.
The Brewers will try to make one game — two games, really — mean very little as they seek the rebound behind rookie starter Brandon Woodruff. If you had to pick a Cubs pitcher upon which a frustrated and angry team might tee off on, you’d pick Friday’s starter. John Lackey has been lackluster all season, and he’ll try to improve on his 4.62 ERA. First pitch is a special time of 6:35 CST, and you can catch the action on ESPN.