The Brewers and packed houses of faithful followers have been searching for something—anything—to break out of the offensive malaise that the team has fallen into since returning from a three-game sweep at Pittsburgh to end August with a 20-7 record.
Could it be that Milwaukee found one, or several, during Wednesday's 4-3 comeback to salvage a three-game series against Cincinnati, a victory that gave the Brewers a 3-7 record during a 10-game home stand that most thought would propel them on their way to the postseason?
Was it starter CC Sabathia getting two more outs after giving up a three-run homer to Jerry Hairston and putting the Brewers behind, 3-1, in the fifth and then gutting out two more innings, including surviving a first-and-third situation with no outs in the sixth unscathed?
Was it shortstop J.J. Hardy smashing a single to center to open the crucial two-run rally in the eighth after hitting into two double plays, including a 5-4-3 grounder with the bases loaded in the fifth?
Was it Ryan Braun, who was 0 for 3, showing the discipline that he and most of his teammates have seldom shown this season and earning a walk to move Hardy into scoring position with the tying run?
Was it Prince Fielder lifting a soft liner to left-center to load the bases after also going 0 for 3 before the eighth, including another grounder to second and a strikeout?
Was it Mike Cameron, who had walked and scored Milwaukee's second run in the seventh, drilling the game-winning single to left for his first RBI in September?
Or was it closer Salomon Torres, who had contended that the Brewers would still catch Chicago after blowing a two-run lead in the ninth Monday? Torres struck out the side Wednesday for his 27th save, overcoming 2-0 counts on the final two batters.
Relieved manager Ned Yost didn't appear to care how it happened, only that his team showed its resiliency again.
"It's just a matter of getting over that hump, getting that big hit," Yost said. "Bronson Arroyo, when he's on his game, he throws everything at you and changes speeds on everything. And CC gave up the three-run homer but still battled through the next two innings. These guys stayed after it and didn't let themselves get down.
"This was a huge win," Yost added. "When ‘Cam' hot that hit, I was screaming so loud I couldn't hear anybody else. So I'm sure there was a sigh of relief in that clubhouse and hopefully a change of scenery, even though we love playing here, maybe going somewhere else will get us going. You always think the next win will be the one that breaks us loose."
It better because the final six-game home stand against won't mean much if Milwaukee doesn't snap out of its doldrums during the next 10 games. The Brewers are 39-32 on the road, and their season depends on staying above water with four games in Philadelphia and three each in Chicago and Cincinnati.
Yost said the final 16 games certainly will test his team's mettle.
"There's no doubting the significance of this four-game series," Yost said of facing the defending NL East champion Phillies on their own turf. "It's a big, big series, but they're all big games and there's a lot of good baseball left. I feel a lot more relaxed this year because my players are more relaxed (than last year). I've got veteran leadership in there helping.
"Sure, it's a huge grind and there's a lot of pressure, but all of these younger players learned from going through it last year. It's more fun and they're more confident in what they're doing. We didn't ask for it to be easy. But the players feel good about themselves."
Milwaukee fans are hoping that's still the case u