Brewers now face monumental task
It looks like Mike Fiers and the Brewers are running out of gas.
Fiers didn’t make it past the fifth inning for the fifth straight start, and a 4-2 Brewers loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday night marked Milwaukee’s first back-to-back defeats in nearly five weeks — a serious blow to its spirited bid for the postseason.
It’s the sort of slide the Brewers can ill afford if they want to play past their remaining regular-season games. With three losses in four days, the Brewers have fallen from 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the chase for the National League’s second Wild Card to 4 1/2 games back with only eight to play.
“It’s not impossible, but we’re going to be in a tough situation,” said third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who did his part Tuesday with a slick defensive play in the second inning and a homer that gave the Brewers some hope in the seventh.
Hope is dwindling for the Brewers after they lost Monday’s series finale in Washington and Tuesday’s opener in Cincinnati. Before those setbacks, they had not dropped consecutive games since Aug. 18-19 at Miller Park against the Phillies.
That’s when they took off, winning eight of nine games, 11 of 13 and 25 of 32 to climb from 12 games under .500 to six games over, and within 1 1/2 games of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card as recently as Saturday morning.
It has been a quick fall since then. While the Brewers play the postseason-bound Nationals and Reds, the Cardinals have been beating the cellar-dwelling Cubs and Astros.
Asked to ponder a scenario in which the Brewers fall short of the postseason, Ramirez said, “At least we were playing for something besides finishing strong and putting up good numbers. We were playing to win. We were playing for something, and that’s all you can ask for. At this point, it hasn’t worked out, but we’ve still got a chance.”
Said manager Ron Roenicke: “It’s certainly looking a lot tougher. We’re going to have to get some big-time help.”
To wit: The Brewers have eight games left against the Reds, Astros and Padres, and if they win all of them, they would be 87-75. The Cardinals could go 3-4 and still be in position to host a play-in game against the Brewers at Busch Stadium. Plus, the Dodgers are still in the picture.
Bottom line, from Fiers: “We have to win out, I think.”
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