Lucroy: ‘We all want to go out fighting’

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers knew before Monday’s game that they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. But after manager Ron Roenicke talked to the majority of his everyday starters, and all of them said they wanted to play, despite the lack of a postseason goal, it was clear that the Brewers were going to go down swinging regardless.

And swing they did. With just three games remaining in the season, the Brewers took the first game of their series with the San Diego Padres and reached an important secondary milestone: a winning season.

Still disappointed by their lack of hope for the postseason, the Brewers made it clear that a winning season was a load off of their shoulders.

“I think we all want to go out fighting,” catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. “And to go out on a winning season is definitely a positive for us. Obviously, you want to be in the playoffs, but that didn’t work out. You can’t say we didn’t try or that it was for lack of effort.”

It took until late August for the Brewers to really look like they’d put up a fight, winning 24 of 30 in a span from August through September — a winning period that ended with a painstaking ninth-inning loss in Cincinnati.

But that doesn’t change how impressive Milwaukee’s run back from the dead was overall. Down by double digits in the wild card race, the Brewers gave themselves a fighting chance heading into their final road trip of the season — something they’ve made clear was an important accomplishment, even if the season didn’t end in a playoff berth.

For Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, that run alone was the true silver lining to the season.

“I think the load off for me was when we were 12 games under and we battled back,” Roenicke said. “That was a load off for me, and it was a load off of the team. None of us were happy with the way we were playing, and the guys certainly got it together and made a nice run. I think today, they continued to play hard. That was good to see.”

That was the message Roenicke gave to his team before the game, summing up what has been an extraordinarily up-and-down season. But after Monday night’s game, finishing with a winning season was absolutely a step in the right direction, heading into the offseason.

“Any time you can be in the plus and you’re that way most years, that’s always good,” Roenicke said. “If you can do that, you’re going to be in contention a lot. Hopefully that’s where we’re going to be for a long time.”

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