The Brewers Walked It Off! … And Simultaneously Got Eliminated from Postseason Contention by the Phillies

The Milwaukee Brewers put together an impressive comeback last night to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks with a walk-off hit in extra-innings, but the Philadelphia Phillies had just beaten the Houston Astros, which clinched them the a Wild Card berth. That berth eliminated the Brewers in the process, making the walk-off win one of the saddest in recent memory.

For the Phillies, their win was much more important:

Good for Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos for helping the Phillies make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. Eliminating the Brewers in the process is just gravy.

As for the Brewers, I expect there will be a LOT to unpack from a season where they once held a solid lead in the Central, then traded their superstar closer at the deadline, and everything fell apart.

Here’s how Christian Yelich tried to talk around the impact of the trade in the wake of their elimination from postseason contention (Brewers.com):

Brewers left-hander Eric Lauer said publicly what other players said privately, that the Hader trade, even if understandable from a business standpoint, “didn’t send us the right message.” Said Lauer two weeks later, “I’m not trying to just get a bunch of bites of the apple.”

“I mean, that’s going to be the easy story or the easy thing to point to,” Yelich said. “We’ve had to deal with those questions the last two months. Honestly, we’ll never know. We can speculate and say it was the reason, but at the beginning, I think everyone talked openly about how it was a shock to the room and caught everybody by surprise. That’s the truth, right?

“But at the same time, we got guys back. We had guys that have been really successful Major League players. So I think it’s an easy way out. You can kind of point your finger and say if we didn’t do [the trade], we would be in the playoffs, but I really don’t think that’s true. I think the guys remaining in this room, myself included, didn’t do a good enough job. We had opportunity after opportunity and we just couldn’t capitalize. It’s a tough feeling.”

To me that sounds like a veteran leader on a team who is TRYING VERY HARD not to say the trade demoralized them and cratered their spirits. The fact that Lauer was so open about it at the time tells me plenty. But Yelich, knowing that nothing can be done about it now, is just trying to turn the page. I get it. But it seems pretty clear to me that the front office really did damage to their players with that trade.

So, then, the playoff field is set, with only some positioning still at issue. In the AL, it’s the Yankees, Astros, and Guardians as the division winners (first two get the bye), and the Blue Jays, Rays, and Mariners as the Wild Cards. In the NL, it’s the Cardinals and Dodgers as division winners, with the Braves and Mets still sorting out the East (very likely to be the Braves, who would then get the bye with the Dodgers). The other two Wild Cards are the Padres and the Phillies.

The playoffs begin on Friday.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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