Welcome in to the latest addition of the Live Blog franchise – tonight’s episode: The Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves against the wall, down two games in a best-of-five series against the Milwaukee Brewers. With the series on the line in Chase Field, will the young Diamondback squad extend the NLDS, or will the “Beast Mode” Brew Crew pack their bags for the Championship Series? We’ll find out soon enough.
Also on the docket tonight – We will graciously take your comments, as always. We will talk about Tony LaRussa’s chances to win Fussy Old Man of the Year, make fun of the announcers and commercials and occasionally update you about tonight’s game. Join us for a few hours of fun, revelry and baseball. In case of a Brewers win, it will be followed by celebratory drinks, dancing, and vomit. In case of a Brewers loss, it will be followed by mournful drinking and passing out sobbing on my sofa.
Tonight’s Live Blog is brought to you by the following sponsors (AKA my dinner):
Li Yang’s Chinese Restaurant – The best Chinese take-out in Oshkosh. Seriously. If you like Jade Dragon, let me know where you are so I can punch you in the head and force-feed you fried rice until you puke because you are dumb. They also have the most athletic delivery drivers in the tri-county area. When I lived in the dorms, I once saw one jump over a 3-foot stone wall in the rain to deliver me my orange chicken. That’s dedication.
Alright, that’s enough of that for right now, let’s get down to business:
Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54) vs. Josh Collmenter (10-10, 3.38)
This looks to be a great match up for tonight’s game. On the one hand, it’s an easy decision for Roenicke and the Crew. Marcum is pretty much automatic on the road (8-3, 2.21) and his ability to deliver pitches consistently to the lower part of the zone makes Arizona’s power lineup practically useless. If his command is on the defense stays up to the task, it might be curtains for Arizona. On the other hand, the rookie Collmenter is tasked with saving the D-Back’s season tonight. He’s an over-the-top pitcher who’s mastered the art of deceiving hitters – mostly thanks to the fact that it looks like he throws from behind his own head. He’s got a good change and a decent curveball, but a lot of his pitches end up higher in the strike zone. If he can’t locate tonight, you’re going to see a few balls end up in the pool tonight. Of course, he hasn’t had that problem yet with the Crew, as he has gone 14 scoreless innings against Milwaukee in 2011.
Lineups (averages taken from NLDS only) –
RF Corey Hart ( .222)
CF Nyjer Morgan ( .125)
LF Ryan Braun ( .750)
1B Prince Fielder ( .375)
2B Rickie Weeks ( .167)
3B Jerry Hairston, Jr. ( .500)
SS Yuniesky Betancourt ( .143)
C Jonathan Lucroy ( .375)
P Shaun Marcum ( .000)
SS Willie Bloomquist (.250)
2B Aaron Hill ( .500)
RF Justin Upton ( .222)
C Miguel Montero ( .000)
1B Paul Goldschmidt ( .250)
CF Chris Young ( .429)
3B Ryan Roberts ( .429)
LF Gerardo Parra ( .000)
P Josh Collmenter ( .000)
In other playoff news: The Texas Rangers won their third straight game in the ALDS and sent the Rays packing in a 4-3 win proving definitively that it is a bad idea to mess with Texas. The Tigers and Yankees square off tonight at the same time our game is playing – the Tigers are looking to advance with a win tonight but need to get around AJ Burnett, and more likely the Yankee bullpen in order to make it back to the ALCS. The over/under on runs is probably somewhere around 15, and the over/under on rain is 19 inches.
On the other side of the playoffs, the Phillies and Cardinals squared off before we got under way. The Phillies won 4-3 and got a one game edge going into the last game in St. Louis. LaRussa managed today’s game with a lighter wallet because he couldn’t wait to tell the world that the umps were being unfair to his pitcher. He thought the TBS broadcasters could help, so he said in a between inning interview that there were “two different strike zones” coming from the home plate umpire. He later apologized for only the fourth time in his life, and he tried to laugh it off but the Botox in his forehead and his droopy jowels wouldn’t allow it. Also his hair is atrocious and I hate how he complains about everything. Even still, it might be more fun to face them in the NLCS.
8:15 PM – 15 minutes before 1st pitch
Thank God I did my homework today, because there’s apparently zero pregame for this contest. I’m watching the last act of Die Hard: With a Vengeance. I love this movie, mostly because it has Samuel L. Jackson swearing like crazy. Alas, on TNT there is no swearing allowed so I’m stuck trying to figure out how “White Melon Farmer” is supposed to be upsetting.
8:22 PM – 8 minutes before 1st pitch (give or take)
John’s calling his wife right now. He just found out where the bad guy is hiding. This is getting tense. Also, Who do you think will fair the best at the plate tonight? My guess is Prince, he always steps up big in games like this, plus he feeds off the fact that D-Back fans are pouty about the Home Run Derby thing.
8:27 PM – 3 minutes(-ish) before 1st pitch
Yippee Ki-ay Melon Farmer. Zeus and McClaine are best friends and the credits roll. Can I please see some baseball now?
8:31 PM – Gametime
Victor Rojas and Joe Simpson are your announcers. Rojas uses the “touch of grey” variety of Just for Men’s gel I assume.
Collmenter grew up throwing tomahawks in the woods. Rojas said it makes you want to give tomahawks to children. HE ACTUALLY SAID THAT. This is going to be fun. Hart is up to the plate now for the first offering.
Top 1st, One out
Hart pops up to second, and Plus hits the plate. Every pitcher on the Diamondbacks look like they have a fake beard. Plush strikes out, two outs for Braun, who gets up to bat to boos.
Top 1st, Two outs
That really is an odd delivery, and he’s doing a good job keeping the ball in. Full count but Braun is battling. He walks and Prince comes up to even more boos. Let it go, guys. Prince gets plunked with a really inside pitch on Fielder’s arm. Two on, two out for Weeks. Simpson seems to think such a thing as spacious confines can exist inside of gaps. His world is an astounding one.
Rickie Weeks takes a wild hack at a high fastball and Collmenter retires the side with 2 K’s. Brewers 0, D-Backs 0.
Bloomquist is up to take on Marcum’s first offering. Willie Bloomquist is a real good baseball name I think. Bloomquist hits a hard shot in the gap, Betancourt denies the liner existed and stayed put. One on, no outs for Hill. Bloomquist steals second, sort of. They got away with one there, but Hill has two strikes. We’ll get it back later.
Bottom 1st, One Out
Hill flies out to Center, and Bloomquist is stuck on second for a little while longer. Upton is at the dish now, and Betancourt makes a nice grab on a pitch that Marcum hung up there in a real bad spot. Two outs, one on.
Bottom 1st, Two Out
Montero and his triple zero average is up to the plate now with a man in scoring position. Montero responded to my joke by blasting a two out double that scored Bloomquist. D-Backs 1, Brewers 0. Morgan had only the slightest play on that ball, it was a real good shot. I will not try to type out the 1B’s name in real-time, but that guy’s up. What’s his face hits a nice little single into right field, Montero scores and cue the annoying music. 2-0 Diamondbacks, they are making the most of their first NLDS lead in 2011. One on, two out still.
Young goes down on strikes, a real good sequence from Marcum. Still, the damage is done on two hanging pitches from Marcum – not a good start in terms of his command. He’s kind of all over the place. Brewers 0, Diamondbacks 2.
(Commercial Note: I’m not a huge Gosling fan, but I totally will go see Ides of March. Clooney is a dreamboat.)
Hairston (of the baseball playing Hairstons) is up to lead off the second. Hairston singles past the second basemen, and we have a runner for Betancourt. One on, no outs to Yuni B.
Hit-and-run time. If Yuni can get that hit part down.
Top 2nd, One out
Yuni puts some good wood on it out to center, but it lands in Young’s glove and keeps Hairston put. One out and one on for Lucroy. Lucroy flies out to Left, and it’s two outs for Marcum.
Top 2nd, Two Outs
Marcum is up, showing off some mean-looking ink at the plate. Simpson wants Joe West to Umpire in cowboy boots.
Marcum is down on strikes. Brewers leave three on base so far, and I know it’s early but it certainly seems like the energy is on the D-Back’s side. Let’s hope Marcum settles down and we can start putting up some zeroes of our own. Brewers 0, D-Backs 2.
(Personal note: Tonight I’ve already had an energy drink, Chinese food and half a caramel apple. Does anyone know how this is going to effect my body? I’d like to know what I’m up against)
(Soundtrack note: In that Tiny Tempah song, is it just me or does he say “Message to the Mango?” Someone clarify please.)
Roberts and his giant, weird neck tattoo are at the plate. Hairston makes a nice grab and that’s the first out.
Bottom 2nd, One out
Parra is up to the bat now, also hitless thus far.
Bottom 2nd, Two Outs
Collmenter is up after Parra hits a lazy fly ball to Braun. What is exactly is Marcum running pitches away from Collmenter for? He knows he has a .150 for the season, right? Also, that payoff pitch was totally a strike.
Marcum gets a nice 1-2-3 inning to quiet Chase Field as the top of the lineup comes back. He looks a little settled down now, and the defense looks pretty sharp now. Brewers 0, D-Backs 2.
(Commercial Note: How is American Horror Story not like anything I’ve ever seen before? It looks EXACTLY like every horror show I’ve seen before.)
Hart is back to the plate, he’s 0-1 tonight thus far. See ya later, Melon Farmer. Hart blasts one to Left-Center, and this is a game real quick. Brewers 1, D-Backs 2.
Morgan is up to bat now, with only a one-run deficit now. Collmenter grabs a hot shot and puts out Plush for the first out.
Top 3rd, One out
Brauny up and he sees a helmet high curve and a curve in the dirt. That looks real weird. Braun strikes out on a hard change. Two outs for Prince.
Prince is swinging from his heels tonight. Doesn’t help this time, he knocks it to Upton and ends the inning. We got on the board though, and showed that we just need to really pick our pitches against Collmenter. Brewers 1, D-Backs 2.
We are around both lineups now, Bloomquist is back up. Yuni handles the payoff pitch to take down Bloomquist for the first out.
Bottom 3rd, One Out
Hill takes out Lucroy’s mask with a foul tip. Jesus that kid takes some damage. Hill takes a jog to first, and Upton is up to the plate with a runner on and one out.
Marcum cannot keep falling behind batters like this. Especially not for this guy. Especially not against this guy. This was about a 12-minute at-bat, and it finally comes to a close for the second baserunner as Marcum issues a second consecutive walk for Montero. I take issue with that call. Kranitz comes out to settle everyone down, I think.
Montero steps in now, and I’m not sure Marcum has it tonight, he’s gonna have to gut it to get all the way to 6 I think. Montero puts one right back up the middle, and it’s 3-1 Arizona here in the third. Upton is at third now with one out. Still.
Bottom 3rd, Two Outs
A botched caught stealing turned into a botched run home for Upton as he weakly tried to separate Lucroy from the ball. Nice Heads-up play by Weeks and Lucroy is great at blocking that plate from the runner. Two outs, one on.
Well, we saw some interesting stuff in this inning. The defense stepped up a bit, but Marcum is still rattled. D-Backs 3, Brewers 1.
Rickie Weeks is back looking for his first hit. Roberts catches a high foul-ball pop-up for the first out. His neck tattoo gets a defensive assist on that one.
Top 4th, Two Outs
Quickly in a two-out hole here as Hairston pops out. Yuni is back up. It looks like the Arizona catcher is wearing eyeliner. Yuni having a good plate battle here.
Of course, as soon as I say that Yuni hacks at a breaker about a foot off the plate and goes down swinging. Hairston so far has the only Brewer Hit. This is looking rough, hopefully we can just keep it close until the bullpens take over. Brewers 1, D-Backs 3.
Young leads off the fourth here as Marcum looks to settle into some sort of groove. Lucroy takes care of a high fly ball for the first out.
Bottom 4th, One Out
Marcum just can’t seem to get these guys to chase anything tonight. No need on his fourth pitch to Roberts, as it is a called third stirke and Marcum’s second K.
Bottom 4th, Two outs
Parra steps in against Marcum and Fielder makes a great stop sliding in the dirt to end the side.
Marcum needed a quick inning real bad, and he got a good one. Lucroy leads off the 5th and he needs to step up now so they can make something – anything – happen offensively. Brewers 1, D-Backs 3.
Lucroy leading off the fifth here, and he’s battling pretty well. Something cool happened in the stands with that last foul ball obviously. Lucroy hits it deep, but the closed roof is holding everything in the air tonight. One out, with the pitcher up to the plate.
Top 5th, Two Outs
Marcum hits the ball almost as far as you can in Chase Field, but it lands in Young’s mitt for the second out and Hart is up to the plate.
Well, that was a quick one. Collmenter is pitching a gem tonight, and the Brewers can’t do much about it. Another scoreless inning and we’re running out of time to run this guy out of here. Brewers 1, D-Backs 3.
Pitcher is leading off the inning for Arizona, a stroke of luck for Marcum I think. Nevermind, he knocked in a single over Prince’s head. Back to the lead-off hitter with no outs.
Bloomquist knocks in a big hit to center field and there are runners on first and second, still no outs. This is getting real frustrating, real quick. Kameron Loe is getting loose in the pen as Aaron Hill steps up to the plate.
Marcum runs one in on Hill’s hands and he looks it in for a third strike. One out, two on.
Bottom 5th, One out
Upton up for his 3rd AB. Upton hits a broken bat shot to Marcum, but he can’t turn two and puts out Upton at 1st. Two out, man on second and third.
Bottom 5th, Two Out
Taking advantage of the open base, Marcum walks Montero intentionally. Good call here I think, and The D-Backs fans are calling Bulls—. Classy, guys. GoldSchmidt up.
The battery is not in sync this inning, and that is disconcerting, especially with bases loaded. The communication problem is very apparent as Marcum’s pitch sails into the right field stands to end his night and put the D-Backs up 7-1. There was no question about that one.
I’ve used every swear I can think of, I don’t know how this happened tonight. Anyways, Loe is in, and Hairston sails a ball over Fielder for Hairston’s first error of the playoffs. Ever watch the wheels fall off? One on, Two outs for Roberts. Young walks over to third for another steal – completely necessary.
Young gets the run across the plate as Roberts knocks a pretty simple ground ball past both Betancourt and Weeks. 8-1 D-Backs. What else is on?
Loe takes a grounder to Fielder to mercifully end an inning that featured nine Arizona batters. I don’t know what to say, it was obvious that Marcum didn’t have it tonight, but good God that was tough to watch. Errors and miscues didn’t hurt the D-Backs either. Big inning(s) are all that can save the Crew now. D-Backs 8, Brewers 1.
(Also on DirecTV: Bait Car on TruTV. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar is on the Colbert Report tonight)
Morgan is up to try and erase the awful memories of last inning, and he’s looking to bunt. Morgan walks, there’s hope yet I suppose. One on, no outs for Ryan Braun.
I don’t know if you could hear it, but Braun definitely swore when he flew out to center. One out for Fielder.
Top 6th, Two outs
Fielder gets all sorts of twisted and is down on strikes. Weeks is up now to salvage something. He doesn’t.
Collmenter is still going strong, and playing to his team’s strengths in the outfield as almost every ball tonight is sailing into a D-Back glove. This is going downhill faster with every goose egg up on the top half of the box score. Brewers 1, D-Backs 8.
Collmenter’s night will continue as he faces off against Loe as the lead-off hitter for the sixth. He falls on strikes to the big guy, for the first out. Simpson again advocates the youth of America go out and buy tomahawks to throw alone in the woods.
Bottom 6th, One out
Bloomquist hits – again – to the gap between second and short. Again. Hill up with one on and one out.
Betancourt, Weeks and Fielder complete an inning ending double play. Thank you, Jesus. That was a big inning that we needed on the defensive side, but I think the wind is out of the Milwaukee sails tonight, if I can be honest. I hope I’m proven wrong, of course, but they look flat all of the sudden. Brewers 1, D-Backs 8.
Bottom third of the inning up now as Hairston is in against Collmenter. He flies out to Parra and now Yuni digs in against the rookie. One out.
Top 7th, Two Outs
It is impossible to put a ball on the ground against Collmenter, I’m sure of it. Yuni pops up to third for the second out and Lucroy is up.
(Super Late Stat Time: Marcum’s Line – 4.2 IP, 7ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 3 K)
Stretch ’em out folks. Another scoreless 1-2-3 for Collmenter and the Brewers are running out of outs to make this a game again. Brewers 1, D-Backs 8. Seriously, what else is on?
Narveson is in to pitch, and Counsell comes in as a defensive replacement now. D-Backs have some gall racing mascots tonight, that ought to fuel up the Crew.
(Stat time: Loe’s Line – 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 K)
Upton is down on strikes for out number one.
Bottom 7th, One Out
Montero down quickly 0-2 on Narvy, who’s looking great in his relief appearance.
Bottom 7th, Two Outs
Montero quickly falls and it looks like the bleeding has officially stopped. Silver linings, folks. That’s the name of the game now.
Narvy strikes out the side, much to the relief of everyone watching this game in Wisconsin. It’s hard to think that we’re still up on the series, but this game is hurting big time. Time for the offense to step, please. Please? Brewers 1, D-Backs 8.
Craig Counsell gets a nice long, warm reception from the Arizona faithful as he leads off for his first appearance in the NLDS.
Hernandez is in to pitch and Johnson is in at Shortstop as a defensive replacement. Counsell hits it to the warning track, and to Upton, for the first out of the 8th.
Top 8th, One out
Hart up to the dish, holding one of only two Brewer hits, but not this time as Upton takes it in for the second out.
Morgan needs to work on his plushdamentals a little after tonight as he strikes out again. Another 1-2-3 inning and the Brewers are all but dead to rights now. Brewers 1, D-Backs 8.
Marco Estrada in for the 8th inning tonight, and he faces Chris Young as the lead off hitter. Young goes down on a nice sequence of strikes and one is away for Roberts.
Bottom 8th, One Out
Roberts takes a 3-1 pitch to left and is in for a single. Parra is up to the plate with one on and one out. Parra takes a called third strike for Parra and there’s two outs in the 8th now.
Estrada tosses a lazy grounder back to Fielder to end the 8th, and the D-Backs are in cruise control now, with only 3 outs and 8 runs left for the Crew tonight. If it’s gonna happen, it needs to happen now. D-Backs 8, Brewers 1.
JJ Putz will get some work in tonight to face the meat of Milwaukee’s lineup. Braun is up first. Braun grounds out to second for the first out.
Top 9th, One Out
Fielder is up looking for his first hit tonight with one out. Fielder gets a “hit” on a bobbled toss from second base and the Brewers have a real-life baserunner for the first time since the sixth inning.
Weeks is up to the plate trying to move Fielder over, he hits a broken bat grounder to short and Fielder (or bat shrapnel) breaks up a would-be double play. One on, two outs.
Top 9th, Two outs
Kotsay is in to try and extend the inning. Almost as fast I could type, he flies out to left and the game is done.
FINAL: ARIZONA 8, BREWERS 1 (Brewers lead series 2-1)
Who would’ve thought it was Collmenter we had to worry about in this series? The tomahawk hurling wunderkind of 10 wins pitched an amazing game tonight and put a dent in the Brewers confidence. We still need one win to the D-Backs’ two consecutive wins, but Arizona is proving it will be harder than you think. Kudos to the bats of Arizona tonight, especially against a usually tough pitcher in Shaun Marcum. It’s hard to put things in perspective in the post season, but sometimes you just don’t have it. The Brewers plain didn’t show up tonight, and now it’s up to them to play up to expectations again.
This game, to say the least, was a big let down for Milwaukee. The team should have been charged up and ready to take the sweep, but they came out flat and looked frustrated by a sharp young pitcher. Give it to the Snakes, they just wanted this game more. Thanks for sticking around in a tough spot, guys, and for the comments. Hopefully Milwaukee can take this next game when I can’t examine their every single move. Looks like it’s sobbing and drinking on my sofa for me.
WP: Josh Collmenter (1-0, 1.29)
LP: Shaun Marcum (0-1, 13.50)
MIL 1 / 3 / 1
HR: Hart (1)
RBI: Hart (2)
E: Hairston (1)
ARI 8 / 11 / 0
HR: Goldschmidt (2, GS)
RBI: Goldschmidt 5 (6), Roberts (2), Montero 2 (2)