MILWAUKEE -- On Day 1 post-elimination, Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio and manager Ron Roenicke hosted separate team meetings to congratulate players for fighting their way into the National League Wild Card race and to set a tone for 2013.Roenicke's address came before batting practice and Attanasio's afterward. The gist of the manager's message? "It was just that I was happy with the way we came back and got back into this thing," Roenicke said. "A couple of months ago, we didn't think we would be to this point." Before games on Aug. 20, the Brewers were 12 games under .500 and 12 1/2 games behind the Pirates for the National League's second Wild Card. After games of Sept. 21, they were six games over .500 and only 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals for that Wild Card. The rise in the standings was the result of a 24-6 run. The Brewers then lost six of their next nine games and were officially eliminated in a loss to the Astros on Sunday. On Monday, the Padres were at Miller Park for the start of a season-ending three-game series. Roenicke gave some of his banged-up regulars the option to rest, but no one took him up on the offer. So the Brewers fielded their regular starting lineup for the opener of the series. First baseman Corey Hart hobbled through another game with his painful plantar fascia injury, Aramis Ramirez kept swinging with a sore left wrist and Ryan Braun played with a stiff groin. "They all wanted to play," Roenicke said. "There will be a couple of guys off [Tuesday], probably, but if guys want to play, I want them to play. I think they played so hard recently, and they just want to finish it out right. I like it. I think it's great. ... The guys that never want to quit, that's the guys you want. Hopefully next year we're at this spot right here and we're fighting to see how deep we'll go into the playoffs." Hart will probably sit out Tuesday. The Brewers face a right-hander in San Diego's Anthony Bass, so left-handed hitter Travis Ishikawa could start at first base instead.
Braun focused on Brewers' record, not RBI chase
MILWAUKEE -- The National League's RBI crown will probably be decided this week at hitter-friendly Miller Park, where Chase Headley's Padres and Ryan Braun's Brewers began a three-game series Monday night.Headley entered the week with the edge over Braun, 113 to 112. The Cubs' Alfonso Soriano was third in the NL entering Monday with 108 RBIs, followed by the Giants' Hunter Pence at 104 and the Brewers' Aramis Ramirez at 103. Braun said he was planning to play all three remaining games, but not because of the RBIs chase. "First and foremost is winning the game tonight and getting a winning record," he said Monday afternoon, with the Brewers sitting at 81 victories. "From where we were, that means something." Braun and Headley both figure to get some votes in NL MVP balloting. Braun entered the final series leading the league with 41 home runs, 352 total bases and a .600 slugging percentage, and was second with 188 hits and third with 105 runs scored. Headley was tied for seventh with 31 home runs, an amazing feat, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said, considering he plays home games at spacious Petco Park. "To have that [production] in San Diego, that's pretty amazing," Roenicke said. "He needs to be talked about a lot more than he has been. To have that kind of year in that place? Phenomenal."
Yovani Gallardo remains slated to start Wednesday's season finale, though that could change if Gallardo decides he's had enough. He topped 200 innings and 200 strikeouts in his last start for the fourth straight season."It's all about him. We brought him in today and talked to him about it, and it's what's best for him," Roenicke said. "If there's goals he wants to get to, if he wants the chance to win 17 games again ... then he's going to pitch. So we put that in his head. We're going to talk again a little bit [Tuesday] and see where we are." If Gallardo opts out, the Brewers would pitch a series of relievers. Roenicke and his wife, Karen, will once again drive home to Southern California after the season finale. They made the same trip last year over three full days. One of the most vital Brewers staffers who almost never makes the news was promoted on Monday. Dan Larrea, whose tenure with the team goes back to 1996, was promoted to senior director of team travel.