The eighth inning began with John Axford on the mound. Behind Prince Fielder's 30th home run of the year and a strong pitching performance by Randy Wolf, Milwaukee held a 5-2 lead.
Zach Braddock had gotten the final out of the seventh inning in relief of Wolf and then Ken Macha went to Axford. The two most likely scenarios were that Axford would go for another multi-innings save or Hoffman would pitch the ninth inning and go for his 600th save--in Philadelphia. Macha had said that he was more concerned with winning than getting Hoffman his 600th save in Milwaukee, but clearly, the Brewers have used Hoffman with an eye toward that milestone. And, if the milestone is important enough to keep Hoffman on the roster, then it is important enough to attempt to get number 600 at home.
This was just another example of the decisions Macha has had to make in regard to the Brewers pitching staff. By continually failing to post quality starts, the starting rotation has forced Macha to go to the bullpen early and often. And, once Macha finds a pitcher who can shut down opponents, he uses that player until "things go sour" and then he looks for another arm in the bullpen to eat up innings. On Sunday, the Brewers needed an arm to eat up the eighth inning and there wasn't one that Macha trusted so he went to the Ax again. There is a limit to how often Kam Loe can pitch.
Tom Haudricourt used Wednesday's game in Cincinnati to illustrate this point. Chris Narveson pitched well and held a 1-0 lead going into the seventh inning. After a lead-off double, Macha pulled him. And then the bullpen failed. Haudricourt argued that Doug Melvin has put Macha in an impossible situation by failing to provide adequate starting pitching. And this lack of pitching has made Macha look bad.
On this day, Axford stopped the Phillies--for two innings--and the Brewers were able to salvage the final game of the three-game series.
Brewers 6, Phillies 2
Game played 9-5-10