"I was ready to second-guess the call," joked general manager Doug Melvin, a tongue-in-cheek jab at those fans who have second-guessed manager Ned Yost this season.
He was only kidding of course, especially since it proved a good call. Assistant GM Gord Ash represented the Brewers on the teleconference and called heads, and won. That means if the Brewers and Cardinals tie for the National League Central crown, they would play a one-game playoff at Miller Park on Monday, Oct. 1.
The Cubs had the opportunity to call heads or tails for a potential division tie with the Brewers, and also won. That means if the Cubs and Brewers tie for the division title, the one-game playoff would be staged at Wrigley Field.
Entering Friday, the Brewers and Cubs were each 71-68, tied for first place. The Cardinals were one game back at 69-68.
The Brewers are a long shot to win the NL Wild Card because they entered play Friday five games back of San Diego with four teams in the way. But coin flips were conducted anyway, and Milwaukee was victorious in three of four different scenarios. If the Brewers tie the Padres, Dodgers or Phillies for the NL Wild Card, the one-game playoff would be at Miller Park. If they tie the Rockies, the game would take place at Coors Field.
"It surprises you how many combinations there are," Melvin said. "I thought it was fun to let the fans make our choice."
Melvin and reliever Scott Linebrink later debated whether MLB was prepared for three teams tying for a division crown, and the answer was yes. Assuming the Wild Card comes from a different division, which seems the most likely scenario in 2007, then the tie is broken by designating the clubs as "A," "B," and "C," with selection of those designations based on the clubs' records against one another. Club A would host club B on Oct. 1, and the winner of that game would host club C. on Oct. 2 to determine the division winner.
Postseason ticket options:
The deadline for current season seatholders to reserve postseason tickets passed on Friday, and the option will open to the general public beginning Monday.
There are three options:
Fans who put a deposit down on a full or new 40-game package for the 2008 season can receive the option to purchase tickets for all postseason games.
Fans who purchase one of the popular nine-game packs will have the option to buy tickets to the first National League Division Series game. Existing "9-Pack" seat holders will receive a letter early next week outlining their rights to purchase tickets to one game of the NLDS and one game of the NL Championship Series.
Fans not interested in season packages can register at Brewers.com
for a lottery that opened at noon CT Friday and ends at noon CT on Monday. The Brewers will conduct a random selection of winners from the pool of registrants for each of the three postseason series. Winners for the NLDS, NLCS and the World Series will all be selected from the same pool, so fans are encouraged to register now. Registration is free.
According to Brewers spokesman Tyler Barnes, more than 12,000 fans registered in the first three hours on Friday.
Right-hander Claudio Vargas said he will be ready to return from the disabled list when he becomes eligible on Sunday, and Yost said Vargas would report to the bullpen until further notice. Vargas has not pitched since he surrendered six runs in the first inning Sept. 24 at San Francisco. "Every day I have felt better, and now I feel 100 percent," Vargas said. "I agree with [going to the bullpen]. I have pitched in the bullpen before. We'll see what happens." Vargas will join Chris Capuano as long relief options. ... The Brewers are the first team since the 1979 Expos to have four players aged 25 or younger hit at least 20 home runs (Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart). ... Expect to see a good deal of left-handed relievers Brian Shouse and Ray King in this series, Yost said. Those lefties match up well against a number of left-handed Cincinnati hitters, including Ken Griffey, Jr., Adam Dunn, Josh Hamilton and switch-hitter Javier Valentin, all of whom were in Friday's lineup. ... The start time for two Brewers-Braves games later this month were moved to accommodate national broadcasts. The Friday, Sept. 21 game was moved to 6:08 p.m. CT for an ESPN broadcast but will also air locally on FSN Wisconsin. The Saturday, Sept. 22, game was moved to 2:55 p.m. CT and will air on FOX.
Jeff Suppan (9-11, 4.75 ERA), who has lost both of his starts against the Reds this season, will try again on Saturday against Aaron Harang (14-4, 3.68 ERA) at 6:10 p.m. CT. Suppan beat the Pirates in his last start for his first win in 13 starts since June 22.