For the Milwaukee Brewers, the 2018 season will be a bittersweet memory. The team won 95 regular season games, the National League Central division title, swept the heavy hitting Colorado Rockies in the National League Division Series and took the Los Angeles Dodgers to one win from a World Series appearance.
No one expected the Brewers to achieve the level of success which they did. No Baseball America, nor the experts at MLB.com, ESPN or Fox Sports. Most of the forecasters had the little-team-that-could from Milwaukee finishing in third place.
Even after Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, the Brewers made believers out of many in the media and baseball industry. That includes their manager Craig Counsell, who took a team from 61 wins in 2015 to 96 wins in 2018.
“In a lot of ways there’s another series after this we’d like to be playing in,” Counsell told the media after Saturday’s loss. “But you do this again and you put yourselves in these situations again, that’s all you can ask. This team took us on an amazing journey that we should all be grateful for being able to see because it was a magical run, especially in the month of September and into October.”
CRAIG COUNSELL Q&A
Q. What was your view of Taylor’s catch?
CRAIG COUNSELL: I think first glance, I didn’t think he was going to catch it. He covered a ton of ground; that was what was so impressive is the ground he covered. It was a huge play. I think the energy comes back in the park. And we had a hard time getting anything going.
Q. You obviously would have liked to have Jhoulys Chacin go deeper. Did he not have stuff you wanted him to have? Was it just situational?
CRAIG COUNSELL: I would say because you’re looking at the game as a nine-inning season, and we were losing the game at that point, and so we had to go to our best guy. And we had to try to keep the game there as long as we could. We did. We weren’t able to score, unfortunately. We had pitching for the game. We didn’t need length from Jhoulys today, that’s not necessarily what we needed. Obviously it always helps. But as you can see how the game kind of manifested, we didn’t need the length, necessarily. So it just to me it was with the two lefties at the top of the order there it was time for Josh.
Q. I know it’s difficult just minutes after a loss, but can you talk about the progress this team made and the steps you guys made this season?
CRAIG COUNSELL: We won 96 games — 95 games in the regular season. We won our division. We finished one game from the World Series. In a lot of ways there’s another series after this we’d like to be playing in. But you do this again and you put yourselves in these situations again, that’s all you can ask. This team took us on an amazing journey that we should all be grateful for being able to see because it was a magical run, especially in the month of September and into October.
Q. The Yasiel Puig home run was the dagger tonight. It was hard to come back 5-1 with their pitching. Do you think he got tired?
CRAIG COUNSELL: I don’t have the perfect answer for you. Tonight I thought both hits were on some breaking balls that just didn’t have the good bite to them that they needed to have. This guy got outs better than anybody in the National League out of the bullpen this year. And the playoffs did not go well for him. He had some big moments for us … today was just a couple of breaking balls that he left up in the zone.