SEATTLE — Remember how loose the Brewers were in yesterday’s win? Yeah, losing changes things.
Once again, the Brewers blew leads (2-0 in the first, 3-2 in the ninth and 4-3 in the 11th). This time, it was the trifecta.
With a runner on second and two outs in the ninth of a 3-2 game, manager Buck Rodgers went to the bullpen in an attempt to retire lefty Bruce Bochte. Was it Rollie Fingers, the closer? No. Rodgers went with usual-starter Mike Caldwell, who many fans remember had given up a home run to Bochte into the third deck of the King Dome in the 10th inning two years ago.
Bochte hit a single to score Rick Sweet and force extra innings. It was only then that Fingers came on to get the final out. It would be the only batter he would face.
Why? In all likelihood, words were exchanged between innings.
Fingers after the game: “That’s probably the final nail in the coffin,” Fingers said, presumably referring to Rodgers’ fate. “Does he think I can’t get a left-hander out? I’m getting good money to do that.”
Fingers wasn’t done: “That’s my job, to come in save situations. Mike Caldwell is paid to start. I’m paid to relieve.”
Did Rodgers panic, over thinking the move? “I shot my wad in the ninth inning,” he explained. “I was trying to get the game over in the ninth.”
Other players in the clubhouse weren’t shy when talking about the current state of the team. “We’re in serious trouble if we can’t beat these guys,” said Cecil Cooper, “especially when you take the lead three times and can’t hold it. There’s just no answers. What do you do? What do you do now? We’re losing every way we can. Those two games we lost in Anaheim, we were up three runs and we lose. We’ve lost three games on this trip and we should have won every one of them.”
Gantner made a not so subtle hint at the change he expected to be made: “You can’t fire 25 players. Sometimes the manager’s at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s really too bad. We’re going to have to do something to shake up this club. I’m not saying fire the manager, but something has to be done to shake up this club.”
It was the Brewers’ 14th loss in 20 games, dropping back to two games under .500. For the first time since April 18 when they were 6-9, the Brewers are in sixth place.
Game Notes: The Brewers have played in seven extra innings games and lost six of them … Cecil Cooper went 4-for-5 with two home runs, raising his season total to eight … Robin Yount also hit two homers and now has four on the season. He has 11 career home runs at the King Dome, tying him with Roy Smalley of the Yankees for most by an opposing player … No decision has been made on whether to put Gorman Thomas, who is dealing with a sore shoulder, on the disabled list. He is experiencing some more range of motion, but is still sore … Charlie Moore, out with a jammed thumb, threw and took batting practice prior to the game … Pitcher Moose Haas, who was removed during his last start due to elbow tendinitis, will throw on the side prior to tomorrow’s game to determine if he can start. If not, Jim Slaton will pitch in his place.