The Brewers season officially came to an end last night after a 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals in the Wild Card game at Nationals Park. After holding a 3-1 lead after the first seven innings, Brewers’ closer Josh Hader couldn’t hold the lead for the crew and paired with a error from right fielder Trent Grisham, allowed a bases clearing single to put the Nationals up for good in the eighth.
The Brewers started the game strong on the back of two homers from Yasmani Grandal and Eric Thames in the first two innings.
The Crew came in with a great game plan, attacking Nationals starter, Max Scherzer, early before he could settle into his first postseason action in two years. Scherzer looked a little wild through his start, but still pitched five strong innings of three run ball before handing the game over to Stephen Strasburg who held the Brewers to two hits over the next three innings.
Brewers pitching also looked strong for the first seven innings, as the Brewers held a white-hot Nationals line up to just three hits and one solo home run over the first seven innings. Brandon Woodruff looked amazing in his first semi-extended action this fall, going four strong innings with a fastball that topped 96.9 mph every time it was thrown. His sole blemish was a solo home run in the third to Washington Shortstop Trea Turner.
Brent Suter and Drew Pomeranz also had strong outings covering three scoreless innings for The Crew.
As the bats went silent however, the pressure continued to mount for the Brewers, and Craig Counsell decided to throw out his best reliever a little early in the eighth, which was understandable considering the win-or-go-home mentality and the fact that Hader had gone multiple innings in the past with a pretty good success rate.
Hader would come into the game and after a controversial hit by pitch call with one out, proceeded to strikeout Trea Turner before loading the bases via a weak single and a walk. With Hader already 27 pitches into the inning, Juan Soto came up to the plate and knocked a soft line drive to right field. As any rookie would, Trent Grisham tried to be a hero and throw out pinch-runner Andrew Stevenson at the plate. However, as Grisham came up to play the ball, he failed to get his glove all the way down and the ball slipped right past him, allowing all three runners to score on the play before Soto was caught at second ending the inning, but, the damage was done.
The Brewers would come up to the plate in the ninth and after a two-out walk to Travis Shaw, Ben Gamel would come up to the plate and square a ball up that ended up right at the track for center fielder Victor Robles, effectively ending the Brewers season.
While it does suck that the season had to end on a blown game like that, this was a team that was five games back of the wildcard with only 23 games to go. A team doesn’t make the postseason every year, and the fact that the Crew has made it there two years straight, and after a push that included injuries to all of their starting outfielders and mainly their MVP Christian Yelich, we should be looking forward to the next years of competitive baseball from the Crew.
The offseason will be one of questions at catcher and third base, but, assuming the young talent continues to develop in Trent Grisham, Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, Keston Hiura, and if new acquisitions like Ray Black and Jake Faria begin to make more of an impact, the crew should be exciting to watch over the coming years.
The Brewers will begin Spring Training with pitchers and catchers reporting February 12th next year. Let’s hope for another successful season and hopefully a return to the top of the division.