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.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.
Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.
Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.
The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.