Brewers drop regular season finale to Cubs

Double-A call-up Jorge Lopez (1-1) went five innings and gave up three runs, all in the first.

Morry Gash/Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Ryan Braun needs some time to reflect on what happened in this lost season.

After a frustrating collapse late last year, the Milwaukee Brewers got off to a slow start, never recovered, then finished with a three-game sweep at the hands of a rival.

The Brewers dropped their fourth straight to finish 68-94, ending with a 3-1 loss against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

It was the most defeats for the franchise since a 94-loss campaign in 2004.

"The season kind of ended the way it began for all of us, obviously, not the way we had hoped or anticipated," said Braun, who needs minor offseason back surgery. "It’s kind of nice now that it’s over, I think it’s a lot easier to be optimistic and to be able to look ahead and look forward and try to find some positives to take from this season."

Milwaukee managed just seven singles and two extra-base hits in three games against the Cubs, the NL’s second wild card. Shane Peterson drove in the Brewers’ only run with a RBI ground-rule double in the third.

Milwaukee is headed into an offseason of change under new general manager David Stearns, who officially begins on Monday as Doug Melvin steps into an advisory role.

"I’m sure we’ll spend a lot of time together," manager Craig Counsell said. "There needs to be some down time, for sure, but I think the wheels are going to keep turning as to what’s next."

Double-A call-up Jorge Lopez (1-1) went five innings and gave up three runs, all in the first after hitting the first batter and walking the next two. The Brewers used an all-rookie rotation for the final 12 games of the season after injuries to Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta, and Matt Garza was pulled because of ineffectiveness.

Lopez was the Brewers’ minor league pitcher of the year after going 12-5 with 2.26 ERA in 24 starts for Double-A Biloxi.

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Braun and the rest of the Brewers veterans are braced for what could be a long road ahead.

"We recognize that we’re going through a transitional period, there’s a good chance there’s even greater change than in the past," said Braun, who is signed through 2020. "It’ll be an interesting offseason I think for all of us to see what ends up happening."

Brewers: Counsell said he didn’t think that the lower back injury that bothered Braun in September and sidelined him the last week of the season was too serious. Braun said after the game the minor procedure he needs should not interfere with his offseason routine.

Cubs: After making his last regular season start on Friday, ace Jake Arrieta (22-6) would work on normal rest to start the NL wild card game against Pittsburgh.

Brewers: The team is already looking forward to next year, with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report on Feb. 19 at the spring training complex in Phoenix.