In May, with the Milwaukee Brewers in a battle of attrition in the Central Division, I wrote, "The Brewers had a good start to the season, then regressed to the mean, with a schedule that has so far been full of Dodgers and Cardinals. It's now time for the Cubs and Cardinals to have their battle of attrition."

For most of the season, the Brewers stayed a few games above an even record, but never falling below 0.500, although as September began, neither the division lead nor a wild-card game seemed within reach.  Then the Cardinals knocked the Cubs into a tail-spin that culminated with World Series winning manager Joe Maddon not having his contract renewed (is it really on the manager that Yadier Molina and Christian Yelich figured Craig Kimbrel out?) while the Brewers went on a winning streak that put them in a position to catch the Cardinals if the Cubs got enough pay-back.

That didn't happen, and today we're observing the Washington Nationals winning the wild-card game and packing to play in Los Angeles.  "'If you could have told me we'd hand the ball with six outs to go with [leverage pitcher] Josh Hader, that would have fit our script really, really well,' Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. 'It just didn't play.'"

Sometimes, the other guy makes the plays.

The good news is I have heard nobody talking about how "If anyone had told us in July that the team would be in the playoffs, we would have been delighted."  It's about taking stock and keeping the team strong and signing the relevant free agents, and hoping the injured list will be shorter.

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