It was the only way to go. The Milwaukee Brewers were among league leaders this year in blown saves with 30 of them heading into the final game of the season. For a team that prided itself on its pitching and back end of the bullpen strength, the blown saves became a story.
They had a four-time All Star closer in Josh Hader holding down the fort in the back end of the bullpen for most of the year. Blown saves weren’t really a problem. But then he was traded and the Brewers went in a different direction with the 9th inning, and that’s when things really started to fall apart.
A blown save to cause the Brewers to lose their final game of the year is a fitting way to end the season.
The Brewers blew 31 save opportunities this year. 16 of them came after the Josh Hader trade on August 1st. That’s more than half of the team’s blown saves coming in the two month stretch after they traded away their All Star closer.
Brad Boxberger led the group with seven blown save opportunities. Deadline acquisitions Matt Bush and Taylor Rogers followed closely behind with four blown chances for Bush and three for Rogers. Trevor Gott also ended with four blown save opportunities after the loss in Game 162.
Josh Hader, meanwhile, had just two blown saves in his four months on this roster prior to being traded.
There was only one “regular” member of the Brewers bullpen, so excluding the guys who never got much run like J.C. Mejia or Chi Chi Gonzalez and starters like Aaron Ashby and Jason Alexander, that didn’t blow a save opportunity, and that was Brent Suter.
It’s been a long season of missed opportunities for the Brewers, and blown saves are the epitome of a missed opportunity to win. They had the lead late, and gave it up, which more often than not cost them the game. It happened 31 times this year, sometimes even twice in the same game.
It’s a fitting way for the 2022 Brewers season to end. It’s a poetic representation of how things went this year. The blown save is the last thing we’ll see of this team until spring training next year, and it will stick with us all throughout the long offseason. It’ll be one more reminder about what was traded away, what came back in return, and what needs to be addressed going forward.
The offseason is upon us, and the Brewers have a lot of work to do.