The Brewers, somehow, miraculously, won on Monday night in Pittsburgh.
How’s your blood pressure doing? If you stayed up to watch the extra inning affair Monday night between the Brewers and Pirates, odds are you’re pretty tense.
In case you didn’t watch it, the Brewers were down 5-1 heading into the 9th inning and all hope had seemingly been lost. Then the Crew mounted a rally, tied the game, took it to extras, and pulled out the victory.
There’s a lot we can take away from this first game of the second series of the season.
Takeaway No. 1
It’s the size of the fight in the dog
Criticize the offense and the pitching staff all you want, but this team has a lot of fight in them. In a 60 game season that’s going to be filled with adversity, having the fight to never give up is paramount to success.
Prior to Eric Sogard‘s walk in the 9th inning, the Pirates had a 98.2% chance of victory, per Fangraphs. The Brewers chances were at just 1.8%. Yet, there were still outs left, and the Brewers still had life and they came all the way back.
Ryan Braun is still Ryan Braun and the clutch gene is still present as he came through with a huge 2 RBI base hit to tie the game in the 9th despite being put in a pitcher’s count erroneously because the home plate umpire had a garbage strike zone. “Strikes” one and two to Braun were six inches outside and had no business being called strikes.
The Brewers were down to their last strike when Braun ripped the double into the corner to force extra innings.
Takeaway No. 2
The offense is not firing on all cylinders
Despite the heroic return to life for the offense in the 9th inning, it’s still concerning that in the eight previous innings the Brewers were only able to muster one run. Some of the key hitters such as Keston Hiura and Christian Yelich have gotten off to slow starts and the offense revolves around those two guys.
There were numerous opportunities for the Brewers to push across runs earlier in the game and they just couldn’t get it done. There were pitches that they normally crush and that they should’ve crushed that Brewers hitters just couldn’t get a barrel on.
The offense did enough to survive on Monday, but they will need to offense to show up more consistently and against pitching staffs that are better than the Pirates, which are practically all of them.
Takeaway No. 3
This is why we’re addicted to baseball
Despite the anger on Twitter that many fans, including ourselves, were portraying, baseball is an amazing game that we all love.
Sometimes it feels like a love/hate relationship. Things go wrong from time to time and baseball just seems to give us a sucker punch in the kidney. Then at other times, baseball can warm our hearts and make everything in the world seem right and happy.
A lot of times those two polar opposite things can happen within 10 minutes of each other and go back and forth through the whole game. It’s a rollercoaster of emotion.
When it ends on the kidney punch, it can make us question why we invest so much emotion into a baseball team.
When it ends on that high note that embraces our hearts in a warm hug, there’s just so much pure joy. As baseball fans, we live for that joy. We live and die on every pitch hoping to feel that joy at the end of every game. It’s why we endure so many kidney punches. It’s why we endure the pain.
We live for the games where you have a 1.8% chance of victory and you end up pulling it out. We live for the weird, quirky moments. We live for yelling at umpires that have a strike zone you could drive a semi truck through.
It’s an addiction to baseball. The Brewers provide so many great, fun moments that always seems to pair with some sort of agony. But the great moments are what captures our hope and attention.
Even if the Brewers lost at 5-1 on Monday night, we still would’ve come back to watch the next night, hoping for a victory.
Baseball is fun. Baseball is unpredictable. Most of all, baseball is an addiction.