Hello Brewers fans. Today marks the week anniversary of our beloved Brewers being ousted from the postseason. Many of you are still very upset, maybe for the right reasons or maybe for the wrong reasons. Be that as it may, I think that enough time has passed for me to be able to objectively start discussing why we are not playing tonight (Game 4 of WS).
Many of you will find this on Monday morning while you are sitting in your office, or at your personal computer because you are awesome and do not have to work. The last portion, applies to the entire 2011 Milwaukee Brewers roster and it did not have to be this way.
After studying this series all week, the reason for the Brewers NLCS loss is not just one thing. This delicious loss cake has three tiers of painful cake. Three tiers, each with triple layered cake. The point of this metaphor is that there is a lot of cake to go along with all of the reasons the Crew exited too soon.
The one that chaps my ass the most, is that the Cardinals scored first in every game of the series. Not only did that suck for us, but it also turned out to be the first time in the history of the NLCS that it had happened. Always nice to get in the record books I suppose. I do not care how good your offense is, or how stunning your set-up man and closer are. If you start every game from behind, you are destined to lose more games than you win. Thus the plight of the Brewers offense. When you are having to constantly drive in runs just to draw even, it is impossible to build any momentum. The 2011 Brewers thrived on momentum. By neutralizing the Brewers home momentum with a 12-3 trouncing in Game 2, the Cardinals were able to stomp out the Brewers home momentum. I liken it to being afraid of the bogey man as a kid. Once you check under your bed and in your closet, you can rest a little bit easier. The Cardinals beat the piss out the Miller Park bogey man.
How about the Brewers recording 7 errors and 7 runs in the last two games of the series? That is a big chunk of the home watching the World Series cake. The series was tied 2-2 going into Game 5. Randy Wolf dominated the Cardinals lineup in Game 4 and that helped sway momentum back the Crew’s way. That only lasted until the 2nd inning of the next day. Greinke gave up a double, which scored a run. Nothing new there. Then, with the pitcher up, Jerry Hairston Jr. let a Bill Buckner squeak by. That turned a 1-0 game into a 3-0 game. The team went on to commit 4 errors; JHJ, Betancourt, Weeks, and Marco Estrada. No team, may I repeat that? NO TEAM, can overcome that many mistakes against a team like the Cardinals. You can never give teams a free out, let alone 4 of them in one game. Then they added 3 more errors in Game 6, although those did not matter as much. By the time Game 6 rolled around, I already knew the series was over. Which leads me to my next layer of cake…
Shaun Marcum, Shaun Marcum, Shaun Marcum. Now, let me start this one by saying that I do not blame Marcum for his performance in Game 6. However, I do hold him responsible for his erratic and downright pitiful pitching from September through the end of the season. After seeing Marcum get annihilated by the D’Backs in Game 3 of the NLDS, then again in Game 2 of the NLCS, how could Roenicke have let him take the mound in a do or die situation? The job of a coach is to set up his players for success. Put them into situations where they can succeed Ron! You took a guy who had no confidence, who was throwing pitches down the center of plate at a break-neck pace, and put him on the mound for the most important game of the season. That is a managerial mistake. Marcum’s performance in the playoffs in no way diminishes his value as a starting pitcher. The 2011 Brewers never would have made the playoffs if we did not have Marcum. At the start of the season he was the only pitcher who could win games consistantly on this team. I have no doubt that next season he will come out and pitch well. As members of the Brew Crew nation, we should not blame Marcum for Game 6. He only did what he was asked to do by his manager.
Prince Fielder forgot to display plate discipline. The thing that blew me away all season about our fat friend, was that he was still in the batters box late into counts. It seemed like Prince had finally figured out how to be patient at the plate and let the at-bat come to you. Then the NLCS happened and that all evaporated like the moisture in my bathroom after I take a shower. Prince struck out 4 times, walked 4 times, and had a hit 4 times. The most stunning fact about this series is that Ryan Braun reached base in the first inning during eight consecutive playoff games. Fielder did nothing with those opportunities. When we needed a hero the most, he could not deliver. Ryan Braun gave us everything we could have possibly asked for, but his pudgy friend left us high and dry. Fielder may leave this team and go to the
err, I mean another team, but he did not leave us anything spectacular to remember him by. The 2011 MLB playoffs motto was “Heroes are made in October”, but Prince’s career .192 postseason batting average makes him nothing more than a guy who has played in the playoffs. By comparison, Yuni Betancourt drove in as many runs and had 4 more hits in the postseason than our “Star Slugger”.
This is the last one for today. Driving in runs. That’s it. It sounds easy, but the Brewers struggled with it all season long. Lets not sit here and pretend that they were driving in 10 runs a night all season. This is a team that has struggled to score runs all season. How many games have we seen the Brewers have 8 or 9 hits, but only score one run? You really need look no further than Game 5 of the NLCS. In that game they recorded 9 hits, 1 run, and 4 errors. This is not even including their hitting with runners on and 2 outs!! That is a conversation for another day. In fact, if I could pinpoint the Brewers exit from the postseason on one thing, it would be their two out hitting with runners on base. To say it was bad, would be disrespectful to the word bad.
I plan on expanding on all of these over the coming weeks and getting Colin and Lynda involved in the discussion. These are things we all need to accept before we can move on and love the 2012 Brewers unconditionally. We all want to be mad and angry, but in the end it will not change anything. As fans, we need to acknowledge the teams shortcomings and learn how to make piece with them. It will be difficult, but that is what your friends at RtB are here for.
The Brewers season is over, but I will not finish talking about this season until it is out of my system. I would love it if you all joined me on this journey. It will make all of us better fans. Hope everyone had a nice weekend.