Cincy sweep is a crusher

The Brewers arrived at Great American Ball Park knowing this could be the weekend to decide their season. Would they make a break for the top of the National League Central? Or would they break the other way? 

By Sunday night, they had their answer. 

A 2-1 loss loss to the Reds capped a Cincinnati sweep and dealt a crushing blow to the Brewers’ faint hopes of repeating as division champs. 

“This was the time,” third baseman Aramis Ramirez lamented in the morning, even before the Reds swept the Brewers out of town with a trio of sensational starting pitching performances. 

Milwaukee right-hander Mike Fiers was a tough-luck loser for the second time in three starts and the Brewers fell to 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Reds, capping a 4-5 stretch against the three teams they trail in the division – Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati. 

Remember how everybody called the first nine games out of the All-Star break a crucial stretch for the Brewers? Well, after a promising start, it turned into a bust.

“All three teams, I would imagine, are going to be in it until the end,” said left fielder Ryan Braun. “I don’t think one team is that much better than anybody else, where one of them is going to run away with it. Honestly, all three of those teams are playing good baseball, have good starting pitching, good bullpens and play good defense. Once you have those three things, you’re always going to be consistently in games.” 

And the Brewers? 

“We’re a distant fourth right now, and we should be,” Braun said. “All three of those teams have played better than us. They just have. The ability is there, we just haven’t executed.” 

Meanwhile, general manager Doug Melvin was back in Milwaukee pondering some big questions. Does his team have what it takes to make an improbable climb up the standings? Where does free-agent-to-be Zack Greinke fit into the club’s future? If Greinke’s time in Milwaukee appears short, is it time to press the reset button? 

The answer to those questions should become clear by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. 

“It’s not a good time to lose three games to [the Reds],” manager Ron Roenicke said. “It’s a disappointing weekend, but I think the guys will still come out and get after it against Philly.” 

The Brewers begin a three-game series against the equally-disappointing Phillies on Monday, with Roy Halladay pitching the opener and a Cliff Lee vs. Zack Greinke matchup set for Tuesday. 

“We’ll see what happens, but this sure set us back,” Roenicke said of the Reds’ sweep.

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Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

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