Prior to Saturday, when Avisail Garcia misplayed a fly ball that would have been the final out of the game, the Brewers were 52-0 when taking a lead into the ninth inning. Josh Hader (above) has been a big reason for that success, converting all but one of his 23 save opportunities while holding opposing batters to a paltry .135 batting average.
Hader, though, remains unavailable after testing positive for COVID-19, which has wreaked havoc on Milwaukee's bullpen over the last two weeks. Along with Hader, right-handers Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave and Hunter Strickland have all been sidelined after testing positive for the virus, leaving manager Craig Counsell with limited late-inning options.
Their absences were especially noticeable over the weekend, when the Brewers blew late leads in each of their three games against the Giants.
Brent Suter, Devin Williams and Brad Boxberger have been reliable all season and will handle the bulk of the workload until the rest return but newcomers John Curtiss and Daniel Norris, acquired at the trade deadline, haven't had much success so far. Milwaukee brought back former fan favorite John Axford to fill in but the right-hander injured his elbow; then the Brewers claimed twice-released Sal Romano off waivers hoping to provide some much-needed depth.