The Milwaukee Brewers could have clinched a playoff spot with a win in the regular season finale at St. Louis on Sunday. Instead, they took the tough rout, falling to the Cardinals 5-2 and then depending on help. They got the needed help when both Philadelphia and San Francisco both lost, giving the sub-.500 Brewers (29-31) a spot in the National League playoffs.
The Phillies 5-0 setback against Tampa Bay finished ahead of the Brewers. But the Giants were giving the San Diego Padres a run for their money and the Brewers were watching in the clubhouse after their loss, as San Diego pulled out a 5-4 win.
The Brewers are the No. 8 seed in the National League and will face the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers (43-17) in a best-of-three series starting Wednesday night.
The Brewers are in and they’re not apologizing.
“We got ourselves a shot,” Manager Craig Counsell said. “You’ve got to beat a really good team twice. It’s the best team in baseball, but we’ve only got to beat them twice. And it’s very doable. We’re going to have to play really well, but it’s doable.
The Brewers are not only big underdogs, but they won’t have their best pitcher available. Corbin Burnes was put on the injured list over the weekend with an oblique strain. Then, starter Brett Anderson left in the third inning on Sunday with a finger blister. It’s not known how serious it is, or if he would have to miss a turn in the rotation to give it time to heal.
Counsell and Brewers President of Baseball Operations David Stearns planned to meet Monday to discuss a pitching plan for the series with the Dodgers.
But pitching isn’t the only problem for the Brewers. They have struggled to score runs all season long. They scored just 18 runs during their eight-game road trip to finish the regular season.
“We’re going to have to score more,” Counsell said. “We can win a game without scoring and getting good pitching, but like I’ve said often, we’re asking our pitching to be perfect. We didn’t pitch poorly today, I didn’t think. We gave up five runs and once in a while you’ve got to win that game.
“In this type of playoff series, you’ve just got to find a way to win games and however way that happens, we’ve got to find a way to win two games.”
The Brewers are in the playoffs for a third straight year, which is a franchise best. They can wipe the slate clean and they’re hoping to catch fire against the Dodgers.