It has to be over for the Brewers now. They just lost 2-1 to the Reds, dropping them four back in the wild card race pending the outcome of tonight’s games. It was a thin hope they had before — probably no real hope — but even the optimists have to jump ship now.
The thing about that loss: what killed them today in Cincinnati is what has killed them all year: The bullpen.
Up 1-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, Jonathan Axford came in to lock it down. He retired the first two batters, striking them both out. Then gave up a homer to Todd Frazier, a single to Jay Bruce and a walkoff triple — triple! — to Dioner Navarro.
There’s no real shame in blowing a 1-0 game. It’s a tough save as far as those things go. But when you think of just how many games the Brewers’ pen blew this year — and realize that it’s way, way more than the margin by which they will fall short of the wild card — you just have to kick yourself if you care about their fortunes.
Update (12:58 AM ET): Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Samardzija has been diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle. He’ll be shut down for a week. That’s good news for the Giants, considering the alternatives.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.