CINCINNATI (WTAQ) - The Milwaukee Brewers are still on the edges of playoff contention – and they hope to gain some ground this weekend in a three-game series at Cincinnati.
The Brewers lost a half-game in the chase Thursday. They had the day off while the Reds came back from a 6-0 deficit to beat Arizona at home, 7-6.
Brandon Phillips was the hero for Cincy with a three-run homer and a two-run double. The Reds are now a half-game ahead of Pittsburgh in the National League Central, with St. Louis 5 back and 4th-place Milwaukee 7.5 back.
Obviously, the Brewers would like to sweep the Reds, and see the other teams ahead of them lose a game or two. The Pirates host Miami, while St. Louis hosts the Chicago Cubs.
Milwaukee is six games back in the NL Wild Card race, in 6th place for those two playoff spots.
Game One of the Brewers-Reds series begins Friday night at the Great American Ball Park. Right-hander Marco Estrada will start for Milwaukee against Reds’ right-hander Homer Bailey. Pregame on WTAQ is at 5:35 p.m., first pitch at 6:10 p.m.
Meantime, the Brewers’ newest closer is just 6 saves away from joining the 300 club. Francisco Rodriguez is trying to become the 24th player in Major League history to get 300 career saves.
At first, the prospects didn’t look good for this year at least. The 30-year-old Rodriguez became the 8th inning set-up man for John Axford a year ago – and K-Rod tried but failed to find another team where he could return to the closer’s spot.
So he returned to Milwaukee, and he settled into his set-up role until Axford struggled. Rodriguez was named the closer this week – and he racked up 2 saves in his last 2 games.
There’s been some talk, but not much, that the Brewers would trade Rodriguez by the July 31st deadline to a contender who needs a closer down the stretch. But even if he stays, it’s likely that Rodriguez will soon reach the 300 save milestone.
In 2004, K-Rod watched Angels’ closer Troy Percival get his 300th career save – and Percival said he wanted to be there when Rodriguez does the same. K-Rod promised to do it – and he says he’ll start tracking down Percival and invite him.