Yes, yes it was.
However, I by no means am mad or have any other ill feelings towards John Axford. How can you? Despite have a very rough 2012, the Ax-Man found his groove in late August when he acquired 14 saves in a row with no blemishes. Maybe a run here or there, but nothing too significantly terrible. Currently he has 33 saves and his 9th blown save of the season yesterday against the Cincinnati Reds may have proven to be the knockout punch to the Milwaukee Brewers‘ playoff hopes.
Is it at all possible for the Brewers to some how sneak in to that 2nd spot in the Wild Card?
Truth be told, the Brewers could win out from tonight until next Wednesday, but when you count on other teams to lose, that’s where you run into problems. The Brewers knew that and yet here’s the culprit, just like you and I, they’re human. They make mistakes and we as fans know this, yet try to take out these unrealistic expectations of our favorite players.
So yes, with the Brewers’ time running out, yesterday’s blown save turned out to be the most crucial blown save out of the many from the bullpen this season. To solely place the blame on Axford is unfair. It was a 2-1 loss, so you can blame the offense, or you can credit Mat Latos for a great start with his bullpen to back him. Either way, with this loss, the Brewers currently sit four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for that second Wild Card spot and are a game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Looking at the what the Brewers have upcoming now, they face the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres for this six-game home stand that will end the season. Barring a miracle, the Brewers’ chances are beginning to look more bleak. This isn’t to say that they will miss the postseason, but they still have to get through two teams to get there with only six games left.
What’s good for the Brewers is that Yovani Gallardo will pitch tonight and is scheduled to pitch on October 3rd against the Padres. With the way Gallardo has been pitching, we would like to hope he can secure those games with victories. The rest of the rotation will have to pitch like they’ve never pitched before. Despite his bad outing last time, Marco Estrada has done a pretty amazing job lately in the rotation and Wily Peralta has been right there with him.
The two that scare me are Mike Fiers and Shaun Marcum. Fiers has been unable to pitch well as of late, but fortunately he’s had some prior experience against the Astros. He’s only pitched one game against the Astros, but in that start he went six innings, gave up two runs on on eight hits, walked no one and struck out six while getting his fifth win of the season. That was back on August 1st.
For Marcum however, he just has not pitched that efficiently all season, especially since coming back from injury. He just won his first game Wednesday since June 8th and has an ERA of 5.06 in September. He’s been looking a little stronger, but not strong enough to where I feel confident seeing him out of the mound. He also hasn’t gone past six innings since June and that raises some concern if get can’t even get at least 6 1/3 or 6 2/3 innings pitched under his belt.
So, in these six games, there’s a lot riding on the starting pitching. While the Astros and Padres may not be the two most threatening teams at the plate, at the end of the day they’re still professionals. You can never count any team out of a game. Here’s hoping the Brewers can miraculously hang on to try and get that one game match-up against the Atlanta Braves for the postseason.