In a week filled with disappointments, the Milwaukee Brewers were swept by the St. Louis Cardinals in a four game series for just the second time in franchise history. To make matters worse, they were swept at home, needing only a split to clinch the NL Central title.
Even just one victory would've brought the Brewers magic number down to 1, but they couldn't get it there as the Cardinals came into the series winning eight in a row, and leave having won 12 in a row.
The Brewers best chance ended up being on Thursday, after a first inning Grand Slam by Tyrone Taylor and six strong innings from Adrian Houser.
But the "Cardinal Devil Magic" reared it's ugly head in the 7th inning as the Cardinals called for the umpires to remove Brewers reliever Jake Cousins' glove from the game as it was "too light" in color, even though Cousins has gone the entire season using that glove and there weren't any issues before. After being forced to switch gloves, Cousins gave up some baserunners, then Craig Counsell called upon Brad Boxberger.
Boxberger had yet another rough outing and by the time the inning was over, the Cardinals had come back from down 5-1 to tie it at 5. The momentum continued for the Cardinals in the eighth as they piled on two more runs and then added a final exclamation point in the 9th on a Paul Goldschmidt home run.
The Brewers have lost five games in a row and seven of their last nine. The magic number to clinch the division dropped to 5 back on September 12th and it's only dropped to 3 in the ensuing 11 days.
Milwaukee is still poised to clinch the division title, but this isn't a great time to start a slump. They'll want to get hot heading into October and carry some momentum with them. Still, it's better to get this out of their system now than to go through this kind of stretch in October.
Next, the Brewers will welcome the slumping New York Mets to American Family Field, and that should present them with some opportunities to clinch the division in front of the home crowd.