A Casual Brewers Fan’s Guide to the 2011 NLDS

Everyone keeps saying that we should enjoy this time as Brewers fans because no matter what happens this has been a great season. Many Brewers team records have been set this year, they won their first division since 198-freaking-2 and we have a strong chance of seeing our best player win the MVP award.

Together again. Slightly less drunk.

The regular season shows you who the really good teams are and the playoffs are about luck. If you are a Brewers fan, this is the best time to be alive and every single game is one to be cherished. NO MATTER WHAT. Or at least that's what my even-keeled alter ego would have you believe.

You see today I am not going to be that guy. Today I am going to be your fears personified. I am going to be just as reactionary, judgmental, doubtful, non-believing and fire Ron Roenicke-y as your average Brew Crew Ball editor commenter. (jokes!) Joining me as the voice of reason will be the illustrious Tyler Maas, fresh off a trip to the Vietnamese sweatshop where his slaves employees make his fresh Forward Fabrics t-shirts.

(We started this a few days ago so sorry that some of this is irrelevant.)

MPD: As of right now the Brewers look like they are going to face the Braves in the first round. They can probably beat the Braves, right? I mean, they have better hitting and better pitching and better defense, but we can beat them. (I THINK!?) I'm not worried about the Braves. We kicked them out of Milwaukee and replaced them with the Brewers for a reason.

My question for you Tyler is, what are we going to do if the Brewers end up facing the Phillies? How could we possibly beat them? I saw these regular season games a couple of weeks ago where the Brewers lost 3 out of 4 and they did not look like they could beat the Phillies in those three games that they lost! Has a team ever been eliminated after game 1 before? Is this the year that it happens? Is there any way we can just forfeit the series so everyone can get their playoff ticket money back?

Tyler Maas: Be it the Braves, Diamondbacks or Cardinals, playing any of those teams primarily at Miller Park would be a huge advantage for Milwaukee. On a side note regarding your 1-game elimination query, a cursory glance of Baseball-Reference.com gives details of a rare 1-game playoff series sweep in 1881—when the West Abbotsford Octoroons bested star tallstop Archibald J. Winklesas and his Punxsutawny Magpies in a baseball match by a final score of dickety-three to a paltry bushel. The remainder of the series was called off on account of dustbowl. ‘Twas a most unfavorable ordeal for those skilled Pennsylvania fieldsmen, no doubt.

But getting away from things that probably didn’t happen in the past and then seamlessly transitioning into something very few people hope happens in the future, a Brewers/Phillies meeting is probably required before Milwaukee can be in the World Series. I mean, yeah, I’ve dusted off any remaining shreds of faith in God to pray Roy Halladay gets gout or Ryan Howard is arrested for mistakenly eating Shane Victorino… anything that helps the Crew get around facing Philly in playoff action. But everyone knows Jesus probably isn’t real… and if he is, he’s got his (OR HER! /just blew your mind) work cut out creating new culinary-based reality TV shows and helping the world cope with the Netflix’s transition to Qwickster.

The long and short of it is if the Brewers want to reach the World Series (which I have a sneaking suspicion they might), they’ll probably need to go through Philadelphia to do so. Fortunately, Milwaukee CAN beat Philadelphia. How do I know this? Here are like four reasons I just came up with right now:

  • Any big league team can win three or four games. Even the Astros have won something like 11 games this season. Four of seven against anyone isn’t out of the question for Milwaukee. Especially because…
  • The Brewers are good. It’s true, even with the Wild Card brought into play years ago, there’s no denying that every team involved in the post season was, is and always will be regarded as being good. The Brewers are in the playoffs. Thus, the Brewers are good. Good teams are often capable of scoring more runs than their opponents.
  • Ryan Braun is super hot right now. He’s also not playing too shabby. Sorry, it’s just been a while since I’ve been linked on Out Sports. I miss the attention.
  • Pitching. Like the fearsome Phillies, Milwaukee is blessed with more-than-capable arms in its rotation and its bullpen.

Of course, the dire need to win every game possible will force the Crew to pare down its rotation and bullpen significantly. Mr. Park Drunk, I am about to ask you a question. And that question is this. Beyond Game 1 starter Yovanni Gallardo, who cracks your Brewers rotation? Why? To which bullpen arms do you bid adieu when the roster reverts to 25 men?  For that matter, which position players would you put in street clothes this October? Feel free to try your own hilarious old-timey baseball joke in your response.

MPD: Please Tyler, call me Miller.

Sure, the Brewers are “good”, but so is everybody else and everybody else is probably better. Did you see that game where they lost to the Pirates? I watched this Arizona Diamondbacks game today and they scored 6 runs... in one inning! What is this, a football game? The steroid era? The steroid era of a football game? I don’t see how our pitching is going to beat a baseball team that scores like a football team on steroids, but for the sake of this article I will play along and talk about the pitching.

Obviously, my ideal rotation would be Cliff Lee (who we signed as a free agent), Yovanni Gallardo, Matt Cain (who we traded Prince Fielder for two years ago) and Zack Greinke. Of course, Doug Melvin is an IDIOT and we are instead stuck with this bunch of also-rans so I guess the ideal rotation would be: Gallardo, Greinke, Wolf and Narveson. They are probably the best the Brewers have and Marcum has just looked too bad in these last two games and it’s time to cut him loose. He clearly doesn’t have “it” anymore after those two regular season starts. Ideally we could skip Narveson and start Gallardo and Greinke in games 4 and 5 (if necessary) and then do the same in every round til the World Series, but I don’t think the Brewers really want to win this year so that probably won’t happen.

As for the bullpen I think of it kind of like Fox’s new hit TV show The New Girl. That show is so awesome whenever Zooey Deschanel is on the screen with her giant eyes, over the top twee-ness, comedic timing, hipster dork charm and oh-so-sexy glasses. The rest of the characters are alright when they are talking to Zooey or talking about Zooey, but without her around they are awful and I want to change the channel back to Two and a Half Men reruns on FX. What I’m trying saying is John Axford John Axford John Axford John Axford John Axford John Axford.

And right here is where I would normally say that the Brewers should put Craig Counsell in street clothes because “he’s lost it as a major league level hitter” or something like that, but I am not going to do it because his Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin living ass would probably just buy a ticket and go to the games and that’d be one less ticket for me. Instead we’ll just get rid of Mark and call it a Kots-day. (See what I did?)

Since you’re all about the lists today I have a little list of my own for you, David Letterman. Five reasons why the Brewers CAN’T win that I just thought of have been complaining about all season and will not let go of even though they are beyond fixing at this point.

  • Yuniesky Betancourt is the worst everyday player in the majors.
  • Casey McGehee is the worst everyday player in the majors.
  • Yuniesky Betancourt and Casey McGehee’s offense.
  • Casey McGehee and Yuniesky Betancourt’s defense.
  • Another thing about Yuniesky Betancourt and Casey McGehee.

Seriously, why do they hate us? Why can’t we just start Ryan Braun at third, Taylor Green at short and Mat Gamel in left? This is clearly the Brewers optimal lineup and they refuse to even try it! I have this sinking feeling that the Brewers season is going to end just like this:

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.

And there is nothing we can do about it. Seriously, Ernest Thayer is like the Nostradamus of Brewers baseball right now. We are screwed.

(Does this count as an old-timey baseball joke? I hope it does. Baseball Reference reminds me too much of my ex-girlfriend. Her middle name was Play Index.)

I guess what I am trying to ask is, how can the Brewers possibly overcome starting the two worst players in the 2011 MLB Playoffs on Fox presented by Ford? Won’t Bud Selig just take one look at our starting lineup, laugh and send us home with the promise of a discount on a 'gently' used car? I want the Brewers to win the World Series just as much as anybody, but I just don’t see them beating anyone with Yuni in there.

Tyler Forward Fabrics Maas: Man, this column is long. I bet nobody is even reading this anymore. I could say anything.

TURTLEDICK!!!

See! Crickets.

But acting like people are still reading this (and that they even were in the first place), I gotta say that you make some interesting and nearly-coherent points, Mueller Field Inebriate. There are holes in Milwaukee’s starting lineup. Yuni and Casey McGehee are those holes, yes. Every team has its flaws, even contenders.

Atlanta has a racist chant and features Malcolm In The Middle’s somehow uglier brother who’s also worse at baseball, Freddie Freeman in its starting lineup. Arizona has relied on a guy a couple years removed from eating garbage… not to mention, at one point, Willie Mo Pena (what, Pokey Reese wasn’t available?) during the regular season. Everything is wrong with St. Louis.

Anyway, the post season brings about a whole new season. And if memory serves, Milwaukee beat the Phillies in the first Liberty City series of the regular season. It can happen again. If fact, I think it will happen again. And if by some off chance it doesn’t, we Wisconsinites can take solace in the fact that the Brewers will always have more American League pennants than the Phils, that the Packers are better than the Eagles and that the quality of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia has steadily declined the past three seasons.

MPD: What? It's over? But I had this whole thing about how Runnin' Ron Roenicke would eventually screw us in the playoffs and another thing about Kameron Loe sucking and some more stuff about Yuni....

Ahh, well I guess it's time to bid adieu to casual Miller Park Drunk. It was fun while it lasted.

Tyler is pretty much right about everything. Except the part about nobody reading this, but in his defense he thought this was for Doctors of Za. On Saturday the Arizona Diamondbacks will be heading to Miller Park for game 1 of what is sure to be an awesome series and by awesome I mean the Brewers are going to win it.

The Diamondbacks are very similar to the Brewers in a lot of ways, but the Brewers are just better. Sure, the Diamondbacks have a much more balanced lineup with nearly every starter at 100 OPS or above, but they don't have anyone besides Upton who could even touch what the Brewers have in Braun, Prince, Weeks and Hart. And while their team ERA is only a few points higher than the Brewers on the season I don't think I have to tell you the difference between Greinke/Gallardo/Marcum/Axford and Saunders/Collmenter/Hudson/Putz. The Diamondbacks had a great season and they surprised a lot of people, but now it's time to GTFO.

Let's do this again next round.

A big thanks to Tyler Maas for helping out with this. Be sure to check out his site Forward Fabrics for awesome shirts like these:

   

Vince Morales is the guy who runs this site. He likes the Milwaukee Brewers, pro wrestling and beer. If he offended you he is very, very sorry.

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One comment on “A Casual Brewers Fan’s Guide to the 2011 NLDS

  1. crack haus on said:

    This is why I come to this site. Hard-hitting analysis from the pros.

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