Normally, I would be so into the playoffs that I’m sure I’d have a ton to write about. But there’s just been soooo much going on lately that baseball is the farthest thing from my mind. Ah, the joys of working in retail! Christmas comes early and along with it comes insanely late hours and a very stressed out girl!
Just to touch on a few things from these first 3 games:
Holy Rays! To be honest, not much of an American League follower, but hey, when the Badgers were losing horribly Saturday, I turned to baseball. Aaaaaaat around 9pm. Then again an hour later. And again around 11 and then finally watched the rest of that 5 1/2 hour yo-yo of a game at the bar. Because there was only so much I could take! That game was absolutely incredible. And when I was asked in the 11th which team I wanted to win, I of course said the Rays. What a deserving team, for sure. I was so happy when they finally pulled that one off.
Actually, I guess that’s about all I paid attention to in those first 3 games of play. I wish the Dodgers would step up a little. I mean, they’ve been playing great but the Phillies are a hard team to beat. And really the only reason I want the Dodgers to go to the World Series is because the Phillies knocked my Brewers out of it. But it would be nice if the Phillies went all the way, then I can say at least the Brewers lost to the best team in baseball.
Ah, well. Perhaps soon there will be more for me to talk about. But until I can actually take time out of my day to pay attention to baseball with a clear, focused mind, I can’t imagine I’ll have too much to say.
Well, the Phillies have overtaken my Brewers. It was a little bittersweet to see them celebrating at Miller Park in the same fashion the Brewers did just one week ago. I give the Phillies a hand for being a great contender throughout the season. And I was happy to see Geoff Jenkins finally get to celebrate a postseason at Miller Park after 9 years, albeit in the visitor’s clubhouse.
All in all, the Brewers came out of it with an outstanding season. It was a rollercoaster ride, for sure, but at least there was some postseason play this year. There were some great acquisitions this season that gave the team the nudge it needed. Most notably, of course, was CC Sabathia. There were injuries along the way that took away some great players. Yovani Gallardo would’ve been lights out all season, given the chance. Ryan Braun would’ve gotten to 100 RBIs much faster had his ribs not hampered him. The options on the field would’ve been much broader if Gabe Kapler and Russell Branyan hadn’t gotten hurt. Of course, there were those offensive slumps along the way, too. Everyone had one at some point. There were the sweeps by Boston and Chicago that propelled the best record in baseball between May and August. Ryan Braun stepped up as another leader in the clubhouse, Ned Yost was let go, Robin Yount donned the Brewers uniform yet again. So many things factored into the Brewers having a great season. They definitely deserved it.
So even though their postseason was cut short, I’m still extremely proud of what the Brewers were able to accomplish in 2008. They made it 1 game further than the Cubs. That says a lot, I think. I’m just so happy that I got to be a part of so many amazing games and I’m definitely proud to call myself a Brewers fan.
Excellent season, Boys! I look forward to an even better 2009!
Well, Cubs fans, looks like 100 years just wasn’t enough time. I know that Fukudome was supposed to be some insane secret weapon and Rich Harden was this awesome mid-season acquisition, but neither of them really seemed to help out tonight. The Dodgers went Cub hunting all 3 games and came home with some very nice pelts. Congrats to Joe Torre. Who needs the Yankees to make it to the postseason, right? Hank Steinbrenner can suck it!
On to the bigger story of the evening: The Milwaukee Brewers have won their first postseaton game since 1982! Dave Bush was stellar, and he chose a great time to step up, allowing only 1 run on 5 hits. And the relievers did just as well. Mitch Stetter, Carlos Villanueva, Eric Gagne and Salomon Torres held the Phillies at 1 over the course of 3 2/3 innings. The Brewers offense has finally learned that being patient at the plate has advantages and small ball is the way to go when you need to consistently win games. Not a single player was swinging for the fences tonight, trying to be a hero. Everyone was patient and just about everyone produced.
In the bottom of the 9th, the Phillies had started to put something together against Torres and I admit, I yelled at the TVs in Champps that he needed to come out. As luck would have it, some dirty baserunning by Shane Victorino allowed the 2nd Phillies run to be taken off the scoreboard and be put back at 3rd base, where it stayed for the final out.
I haven’t lived my 25 years as a Brewers fan just to see them go down like the Cubs. And tonight, I remembered why I became such a huge fan. This team was the underdog last year and they came within 2 games of a postseason berth. This season, I think a lot of people doubted the Brewers’ ability to come back after giving up their division lead early on. I always had faith in them. It was shaken, sure, but it was always there. Even if this is the only win the Brewers see in October, I’m happy. (But the World Series would be sooo much better!)
So congratulations, Brewers! I will take this win as a sign that you’re ready for more. October is far from over.
Game 4 (yeah, it’s necessary!)
Phillies @ Brewers
…I would NOT be using tomorrow’s lineup.
True, Jamie Moyer is a lefty. Usually true, keep the lefties out of the lineup. Here’s what it looks like for Game 3:
Mike Cameron, CF
Bill Hall, 3B
Ryan Braun, LF
Prince Fielder, 1B
JJ Hardy, SS
Corey Hart, RF
Craig Counsell, 2B
Jason Kendall, C
Dave Bush, P
And here are my issues:
Corey Hart is starting yet another game, despite poor performances since the All-Star break. I really and truely believe that Corey Harts Ned Yost and he’s been sucking to try and prove a point. Yet, the team managed to get to the playoffs despite Corey’s lack of offense. And when did he become such a slow baserunner? Remember when he used to be able to bunt for hits? Not so much anymore. If I were Dale Sveum, I would take a chance on Tony Gwynn, Jr. in the outfield tomorrow. He may be a left handed batter, but honestly, how much worse off would they be? The Brewers have a much better shot at winning with Corey Hart out of the lineup.
I would love to see Ray Durham at 2nd. That’s not to say I’m unhappy with the choice to play Craig Counsell. Anyone is better than Rickie Weeks out there. But I’d almost say put Durham at 2 and Counsell at 3 and leave Bill Hall off the starting roster. Bill Hall used to win games, but I don’t know where that guy has been for awhile. And he’s not very patient at the plate. I just really think that Durham should be out there tomorrow. Hall should be saved for a pinch hit situation, because god knows there will be a lot of them.
And I know there’s nothing that can be done now, but if I were Dale Sveum, I’d have CC Sabathia on the mound. I still don’t understand why he pitched last night, again on short rest. Just because the guy proved he could do it 3 other times doesn’t mean he should do it for a fourth. Pitcher by committee is the way I would’ve gone last night. Start Dave Bush, knowing you probably will have to rely on the bullpen. That way CC could’ve pitched on regular 5 day rest and the bullpen probably wouldn’t have been needed nearly as much for Saturday’s game.
So, if I were Dale Sveum, the lineup for tomorrow’s game would be as follows:
Mike Cameron, CF
Ray Durham, 2B
Ryan Braun, LF
Prince Fielder, 1B
JJ Hardy, SS
Tony Gwynn, Jr., RF
Craig Counsell, 3B
Jason Kendall, C
CC Sabathia, P
In a perfect world, this lineup would pretty much ensure a win. I’m not really sure why Sveum doesn’t think a shakeup will help those boys produce. His mentality lately has been a little Yost-like and I am definitely not amused. This is the post-season. It’s not a time to settle in with a lineup that’s clearly not working. This attitude is very “one game at a time” and “not thinking about tomorrow.” Ah, Ned Yost. Isn’t that why he’s not the manager anymore? It’s too late to be thinking like that. The one game at a time approach doesn’t work when tomorrow night could be the last game. You have to think about tomorrow. I don’t know if Dale Sveum quite realizes it, but after Saturday night, there might not be one.
Game 2 of the Brewers first post-season in 26 years went down as another terrible loss. CC Sabathia was out in the 4th after giving up 5 in one inning, including a Shane Victorino grand slam. Definitely not his finest hour.
If I were Dale Sveum, and I firmly believe I should have his job, I would’ve saved CC for Saturday’s homegame. I understand that everyone in the Brewers organization seems to think that Dave Bush is better at home. But let’s face it: The guy hasn’t been great anywhere. And he’s just okay at home. Sabathia, on the other hand, is great at home. He’s the epitome of a team player, and the home crowds adore him. Let the poor guy rest a couple extra days and come back at his strongest. No starter should be pitching 4 games in 12 days. You can’t expect him to be on point. And CC Sabathia sure missed the mark tonight. (12.27 ERA this game.)
But again, the Phillies starting pitching was dominant. The first inning looked so promising, with Brett Meyers walking in the first of only 2 Brewers runs. But what a shocker. Corey ‘I’m still playing for Yost’ Hart grounded into a double play to end a bases-loaded threat, the only one the Brewers would get all night.
At the beginning of the game, people were asking if I was nervous. Of course not. Why would I be? I’m pretty sure my boys know what they’re playing for and they know they need to step it up. Am I concerned about the 0-2 deficit? You know it. Do I think they’ll fall in 3? No. I’m pretty confident that the Brewers will win at home Saturday, forcing a 4th game. It’s not to say I won’t be upset if they lose in 4, but at least I know that for their first post-season series in over a quarter century, they didn’t get swept.
Which brings me to the arch nemesis, the Chicago Cubs. As I write this, the Cubs are down 5-0 to the Dodgers in the bottom of the 3rd. I know, I know. ‘At least they have a World Series!’ Whatev. It’s been 100 freaking years. That team chokes in the post-season. It’s pretty much a well-documented fact. It’s not to say they’ll get swept in 3, like last year. To the Diamondbacks. (Ha!) But I’ll just feel better about the Brewers’ losses if the Cubs lose just as many, or more.
So I think for Saturday’s game, I’m throwing all my superstitions out the window. I’m going to put my faith in Dave Bush (eeeeek!) and I will trust that more than just Ryan Braun wins games. The Brewers should do a repeat of ’82 and come back to win 3 in a row, because they’ve worked too hard this season not to. CC Sabathia should really get one more chance to pitch in a Brewers uniform. He shouldn’t have to go out on such a low note.
For now, I shall continue to watch the Cubs falter to make myself less angry at the team I love so much, so that I can cheer them on to victory once they make their way home.
Phillies @ Brewers
Saturday, Oct. 4
My Brewers are 0-1. This girl is NOT happy.
Two of my Top 10 definitely played well today. But neither of those 2 are Brewers, unfortunately. Cole Hamels was absolutely on fire. He kept the Brewers scoreless for 8 innings, striking out 9 and only allowing 2 hits. Chase Utley struck first against my boys with a 2-run bullet that Mike Cameron just couldn’t hold on to. Normally, I would be inclined to forgive such good looking men, but this is the playoffs. There will be no such clemency for dominating my team.
The Brewers bats started to come alive in the 9th, but by then it was too late. Ryan Braun had the only RBI and the poor guy just got left out there for 3 more batters. Prince Fielder broke his awesome hitting streak Sunday, and then struck out today when the Brewers needed him most. JJ was actually pretty patient and walked. And once the wild pitch advanced both him and Braun, I sort of stopped worrying that Corey Hart was going to suck. But only for a tiny second. Because there were 2 outs and 2 on, and since he had already swung at the first pitch, I knew he wasn’t going to help. He just fanned strike 3 and that was that. The Brewers are in the hole to the Philles after game one.
Tomorrow is another day. A day to gather with friends at the bar and watch the game in the same fashion we did for many a win during the season. We’re gonna break out all our good luck charms, follow all of our silly superstitions and pretty much just do everything we can on our end to help our team.
CC’s on the mound tomorrow, so I’m pretty sure that hole won’t get much deeper. He is definitely the guy to get the Brewers their first post season win in 26 years.
Brewers @ Phillies
Thursday, Oct. 2