video thumbnail

PIT@MIL: Melvin talks about Brewers making playoffs

Heading into the second-to-last game of the regular season for the Brewers and Pirates on Tuesday, Milwaukee could be in an unfamiliar position: rooting for St. Louis.

If the Cardinals squeeze into the National League Wild Card position instead of the Braves -- they're one game out with two to go -- then the Cards play the Phillies in the NL Division Series.

Milwaukee could also avoid playing Philadelphia in the NLDS if it finishes with a better record than Arizona, the West champion, and the Brewers have a one-game advantage on the D-backs heading into Tuesday, meaning they can clinch the No. 2 seed -- and home-field advantage in the first round -- with a win and an Arizona loss.

But it's that first scenario that could keep the Brewers from facing the Phillies at any point in the playoffs. The Cards won six of nine meetings with the Phillies this year, and St. Louis might have the best chance of anyone to knock out Philly in the first round's short five-game series.

Not that the Brewers are thinking about these scenarios -- or willing to share their thoughts publicly.

"That hasn't crossed my mind, and I can guarantee you that it has never come up out there [in the bullpen]," said Brewers reliever Kameron Loe. "Thinking about stuff like that, it just makes you frustrated and takes away from what you're trying to do. I was in Texas one year, and we got into that when we weren't even going for the postseason. We were going for second place and [financial] shares and watching the scoreboards, rooting for teams to lose. It just doesn't do you any good, performance-wise.

"Whoever we end up playing is who we'll play, and we're going to take it to them no matter what. The good thing for us is that we control our own destiny right now."

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is a fan of making sure the Brewers finish with the second-best record in the NL: "This is the first I've ever even thought about it. If we go out and do our job, [going to Philadelphia] is not even a possibility. So I don't care about anything else; I just care about us."

The one player to admit he is quietly pulling for the Cardinals is right fielder Corey Hart. He knows that if the Cardinals win the Wild Card, the Brewers will play the D-backs in the NLDS, and that means at least one postseason game at Chase Field. Hart lives in suburban Phoenix.

"If the Cardinals get in, I get to [go to] Arizona," he said with a smile. "I get to sleep at home with the family, and that would be nice. I still want to open up here [at Miller Park] and then go there. But the thing is, we feel like we're as good as anybody, and over the past 10 days we're right back to playing good baseball, right where we want to be."

On Tuesday at Miller Park, left-hander Randy Wolf goes for Milwaukee against Pittsburgh righty Ross Ohlendorf.

Ohlendorf has had a rough go of things since rejoining the rotation in August, after a shoulder strain sidelined him. With 34 runs allowed in 33 2/3 innings, the Pirates may be hard-pressed to tender him a contract this offseason, when he's arbitration eligible. He's making $2 million this year. But Tuesday is a last chance to show he can be a commodity.

"He'll get the ball one more time and see where he takes it," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's on him. He knows that."

Two of Ohlendorf's last three starts haven't gone beyond two innings, with a seven-inning, two-run outing sandwiched in between.

"It's been tough," Ohlendorf said. "It's pretty obvious. I haven't pitched well this year."

Pirates: Coaching decisions coming
General manager Neal Huntington said that members of Hurdle's coaching staff will be informed shortly after the season ends whether or not they will be brought back. Heavy changes aren't expected.

Brewers: Braun gets rest Monday ... for a while
Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun did not start on Monday, his quest for a National League batting title taking a backseat to the importance of being rested for the playoffs. Monday's starting pitcher was right-hander Charlie Morton, against whom Braun was 6-for-11 lifetime.

But Braun did enter as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning of Milwaukee's 9-8 loss and stroked an RBI double. He improved his average to .334, but lost his lead over Jose Reyes, who is also batting .334 but is .00003 ahead of Braun.

Worth noting
• The Pirates are 4-36 at Miller Park since the beginning of 2007. They snapped a 12-game losing streak there with Monday's win. Comments