“It’s going to sting for a long time,” Grisham said of his eighth-inning blunder in right field, the costly error that led to three runs as the Washington Nationals rallied for a 4-3 win in the NL wild-card game.
Grisham was forced to replay it over and over again afterward. With the bases loaded and his team leading 3-1, he charged a base hit by Juan Soto and was looking to keep the tying run from scoring. The ball squirted underneath his glove, and by the time he chased it down, not only did the tying run come in but so did the go-ahead run.
“I was getting ready to throw to home, and I came in a little off balance. It kind of took a funky little hop on me,” Grisham said.
The Brewers’ resilient ride to this game, only made more difficult in early September when Yelich was lost for the season with a knee injury, was abruptly over. It was Grisham who replaced Yelich in right field, and one by one, his teammates reminded the rookie of how instrumental he was in their impressive run to the postseason.
That couldn’t blunt the pain of how Grisham’s rookie season ended, a season that began when he made his major league debut Aug. 1.
“I just ended up making an error. It’s not going to be my first, and it’s not going to be my last,” said Grisham, a 2015 first-round pick who started the year with the Brewers’ Class AA affiliate in Biloxi, Miss.
He led off in Yelich’s place in his first postseason game Tuesday night, finishing with a run and a walk in four plate appearances, showing the same kind of potential at the plate that had made him a reliable replacement as Milwaukee won 13 of its first 15 games without Yelich to help earn this wild-card berth.
“He’s a huge reason we’re even playing in this game. He has a lot to be proud of. He had a great first taste of the big leagues, and he’ll be back. He’s going to contribute to our ballclub. I feel for him,” Yelich said of Grisham, who hit .231 with six home runs in 51 games with Milwaukee this season.
The Brewers could point to other factors in their implosion Tuesday night — the Brewers left six runners on base and went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. All-star left-handed reliever Josh Hader struggled with his command as the eighth inning unraveled. Hader hit pinch runner Michael A. Taylor, gave up a bloop single to Ryan Zimmerman and loaded the bases by walking Anthony Rendon — and Soto eventually drove his base hit toward Grisham, who never squared up on the ball and watched it slip underneath him into right field.
“We win as a team, and we lose as a team. Both of those guys [Grisham and Hader] have had so many huge moments for us all season,” Milwaukee left fielder Ryan Braun said. “I think today was a reminder why it’s so important, so significant to win your division, because you play these single-elimination games, and these things can happen.”
After Grisham had been greeted by most of his teammates, Manager Craig Counsell approached. Counsell had just met with reporters himself, explaining that Grisham was being aggressive on a ball that “had some spin on it.” He eventually walked back to the clubhouse and offered some final words of encouragement to Grisham, who was already staring down a long, painful trip back to Milwaukee and into the offseason.
“It’s going to hurt,” Grisham said, “and I expect it to hurt.”
Read more Nationals coverage: