ANAHEIM — Today’s game between the Brewers and Angels was nationally televised. The entire country was able to see for themselves just how flawed these Brewers are.
A blown 4-1 lead in the seventh, the second consecutive three-run lead lost. Fourteen hits, but 10 runners left on base. A blown save by the league’s pre-eminent closer. A Reggie Jackson home run in the bottom of the 10th to end the game. Only one win in six extra inning games. Two straight losses and six losses in the last seven games. Two games under .500 and fifth place for the first time since the Brewers were 4-6 on April 21.
And, of course, the controversy that follows losing. Manager Buck Rodgers and several Brewers are rumored to be fighting for their jobs. Today, All-Star closer Rollie Fingers made his dissatisfaction known.
Fingers relieved Randy Lerch in the seventh with runners on second and third and no outs, nursing a 4-1 lead. In eight previous starts, Lerch had lasted seven innings only once. So it should have been no surprise when he was unable to retire a batter to open the seventh.
Fingers felt the same, and wondered out loud why he hadn’t been brought in to start the inning rather than try to clean up Lerch’s mess. Bob Boone singled in two to make it a 4-3 game. With two down in the ninth, Fingers allowed an RBI single by Bobby Grich to send the game to extra innings.
Then, of course, came the shot the whole world saw. The booming drive by Reggie Jackson to left center field. Jackson swung mightily and posed, admiring his shot while he kissed his biceps and shouted to all who would listen: “That was me! I did it! Reggie Jackson! Me! Look at me!” Easterly put his head down in shame and scuffled back to the dugout.
The game may have ended dramatically to some, but it was no surprise to anyone who has been following this team closely. Drama implies the unexpected. We’ve seen this happen before.
The question all Brewers fans want answered: How many times do we need to see the same game end in the same painful way before changes are made?
Game Notes: Centerfielder Gorman Thomas injured his shoulder making a diving catch in yesterday’s game and did not play. He is considered day-to-day.