Brewers looking more and more like sellers

The Brewers arrived at Great American Ball Park knowing this could be the weekend to decide their season. Would they make a break for the top of the National League Central? Or would they break the other way?

By Sunday night, they had their answer.

A 2-1 loss loss to the Reds capped a Cincinnati sweep and dealt a crushing blow to the Brewers’ faint hopes of repeating as division champs. You have to wonder whether it was also the team’s last gasp before general manager Doug Melvin starts selling.

“This was the time,” third baseman Aramis Ramirez lamented in the morning, even before the Reds swept the Brewers out of town with a trio of sensational starting pitching performances.

The Brewers fell to 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Reds, capping a 4-5 stretch against the three teams they trail in the division – Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati.

Remember how everybody called the first nine games out of the All-Star break a crucial stretch for the Brewers? Well, after promising series wins at home against the Pirates and Cardinals, it turned into a bust.

“We’re a distant fourth right now, and we should be,” left fielder Ryan Braun said. “All three of those teams have played better than us. They just have. The ability is there, we just haven’t executed.”

Meanwhile, Melvin was back in Milwaukee pondering some big questions. Does his team have what it takes to make an improbable climb up the standings? Where does free-agent-to-be Zack Greinke (more on him here) fit into the club’s future? If Greinke’s time in Milwaukee appears short, is it time to press the reset button?

Among the players Melvin could trade are Greinke, reliever Francisco Rodriguez and perhaps Ramirez, who spoke earlier Sunday about the surprising rumors including his name.

The answer to those questions should become clear by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

“We’ll see what happens, but this sure set us back,” manager Ron Roenicke said.

— Adam McCalvy


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