You can add outfielder Corey Hart to the list of those wondering what could have been for the Brewers this season had they been able to hit and pitch at the same time.
“It might have been different,” said Hart.
Instead, the pitching scuffled early and the hitting sort of scuffled late, leaving the Brewers to finish another lost season this weekend in Cincinnati. Mark Rogers, Chris Capuano and Randy Wolf are your starters for the final series of the year.
The Brewers are going out on individual high notes. In Thursday’s win over the Mets, Chris Narveson lowered his ERA under 5.00 for the first time since April, Casey McGehee and Corey Hart each reached 100 RBIs, Ryan Braun scored his 100th run and Prince Fielder matched his own club record with his 110th walk.
Those offensive milestones all came during an 11-batter rally that put a 9-2 win out of reach.
“[Manager Ken] Macha was really good about it because he knew what we were going after,” Hart said. “Obviously, you have team goals, but he saw we were right there and he was determined to keep us in there until we got it done.”
McGehee played seven games without driving in a run before finally notching RBI No. 100 on a ninth-inning error charged to Mets catcher Mike Nickeas, one of three New York errors in the game and two on that same play. Fielder followed with a walk, matching his club record set last season, and Hart followed with a sharp single to right field to score Braun, giving the Brewers two milestones with one swing. Hart reached 100 RBIs for the first time in his career, and Braun scored 100 for the second straight season. Braun joined Cecil Cooper (1982-83) as the only players in franchise history to post consecutive seasons with 100 runs and 100 RBIs.
The Brewers and Yankees are the only teams with three 100-RBI players this season. It’s the fourth time in franchise history that the Brewers have had at least three, and the first time since 1982.
If you think this stuff doesn’t mean anything to the boys in navy blue, think again. After McGehee’s RBI, Braun pumped both of his fists in the air in McGehee’s direction. When Hart slapped his hit to right field, he pumped his right fist on the way to first base.
“We all pretend like we don’t pay attention, but it’s impossible not to,” Braun said. “Especially because that 100th RBI is kind of the number that solidifies that you’ve had a great year as a run-producer.”
McGehee had been working on his for a while. He drove in four runs on Sept. 22 but was blanked in the week that followed.
In the end, he logged No. 100 on a 40-foot grounder that was misplayed by the catcher. McGehee wasn’t sure at first that he would get an RBI, but learned later that the official scorer had ruled in his favor.
“Definitely a relief,” McGehee said. “As much as I tried not to worry about it, it was hard not to be aware of it. Really, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know how big a deal it is. It’s just a nice, round number, really. At the same time, you’re so close to it, you might as well push to get that one more.”
Don’t forget Narveson in this discussion, because he did just enough to lower his ERA just below 5.00, where it had stood since he was working out of the Brewers’ bullpen in April.
He exited with two outs in the seventh inning and a runner at first base, and reliever Carlos Villanueva preserved Narveson’s ERA by striking out Jose Reyes with a runner at first base. Reyes had a dreadful night, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts and a pair of groundouts to the mound. Reyes also dropped an easy pop-up that extended the Brewers’ half of the fifth inning for Lorenzo Cain’s two-run double.
“When I came out, [Dave Bush] told me, ‘You’re at 4.99,'” Narveson said. “It was pretty sweet. It was kind of a goal of mine to get there in the final month and I was able to get there.”
Narveson’s last start was also my last game of the season covering the team from the press box. I’ll be back next week with the beginning of what should be a very interesting offseason, but wanted first to say thank you to everybody who read the blog, followed me on Twitter and dropped me e-mails throughout the season. It’s been a fun back-and-forth, and I look forward to continuing the conversation over the hot stove.
Enjoy the final three games…