A lot can be said about Ron Roenicke's handling of the Brewers in the 2011 NLCS. I'm sure that much of it will key in on his stubborn decision to start Shaun Marcum in game 6 despite all signs pointing to that not working out very well. Some people will argue that it should have been Gallardo in this spot and that we could have just "figured it out" for game 7 and that is a good, popular argument. I am not here to make that argument.
Baseball is not a game of small sample sizes. Shaun Marcum should not be judged by his last two starts and Ron Roenicke had every reason to believe that the "real" Shaun Marcum would pitch in this game. Did I believe that myself? Absolutely not. I think Marcum has pitched too much this year and his arm has simply had enough. It's clear to me watching him that this is the case (the way he struggles, the way he avoids hitters), but nobody seems to want to acknowledge it. Or at least Ron Roenicke didn't. So much of being a baseball manager is "having faith in your guys" or some crap like that and in this case it screwed us, but Shaun Marcum starting this game is not what lost this game. (And no, it wasn't the defense either.) What lost us this game was this:
I am not going to bore you with charts or WPA or whatever else, but let's be absolutely clear about this: THIS WAS THE GAME. To put it simply the Brewers scored six runs in this game and by the time the Cardinals scored number seven this game was over. Runs 8-12 did not matter. They sucked, but they did not matter. It was this and only this that decided this baseball game. It'd have been nice not to give up 4 in the first or another in the second, but that didn't kill us. This sequence did. It was the most important sequence of the game and Roenicke blew it. Continue reading »
But when I think of where I was and what happened on 10/9/2011 in Game 1 of the 2011 NLCS I will think of only one person and that person is Yuniesky Betancourt. MY MAIN MAN YUNIESKY BETANCOURT. YUNI YUNI YUNI YUNIIIIIEEEEE.
Yuni has gotten a lot of crap from people throughout the season and rightfully so, but one thing we should never discount is that when he swings the bat at a (good) pitch and makes (good) contact he can do very good things. He has power in that bat of his which is probably why he swings it so damn much. We can argue the merits of Yuniesky Betancourt as a major league shortstop until we are blue in the face, but the fact remains that Yuni can hit a lot better than a lot of shortstops out there. Yes, other people have higher batting averages and higher OPS, but Yuni is always among the top half of ISO because he just hits the ball harder than most people. Yuni isn't the best, but he is not without value. He is a valuable member of this team. 0.5 Wins Above Replacement is still above replacement and we shouldn't forget that.
Yesterday is one of those days I wish I could do over. I was too nervous, too anxious and thus too drunk to enjoy it like I should have. I was a mess of emotions that could barely even concentrate. I'm not even sure I talked to anyone throughout the entire game. (Sorry about that Tyler.) Despite being in the stadium I just wanted to watch it on TV. I don't really know why. It was just too much. None of this matters now.
What matters is the Brewers won the biggest game they've played in twenty years. The Brewers won the biggest game of my lifetime in exciting fashion. The Brewers are now four wins away from the World Series. Holy shit, the Brewers... the Brewers!
The new series will start tomorrow and this insanely good feeling we have right now will be gone. In it's place will be more angst, more nervousness and tons of Cardinals hate. We can talk about that stuff later, but for right now I am just going to enjoy this. The Brewers are 8 wins away. That is not many. This is happening. Continue reading »
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?
Apparently today was "everyone is freaking out about the Phillies series so Brewers bloggers write posts about how it's going to be okay" day and if there is one thing I never want to miss out on it's a good "everything is going to be okay" post.
Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker tried to give everyone a little context today by looking at the Brewers record against their likely playoff opponents and even points out that, despite this weekend, the Brewers have a positive run differential in their season series against the Phillies. He also points out that the last time the Brewers played their most likely first round opponent, the Braves, they took three out of four games at Miller Park and that the team's record over 162 is more indicative of their talent than these games and those are all good points that give you something to think about, sure, but Moore stops short of admitting that this is a small sample size that says absolutely nothing about the Brewers' playoff fates.
The Brewers Bar took some time out this weekend to tell us that math was still on the Brewers side. This should seem obvious, but just seeing it on the page that the Cardinals would have to go 12-5 just to tie a 5-10 Brewers team puts a smile on my face. I'd give him more credit, but then he had to go and write this:
There's still a lot of baseball left to decide seeding, but there isn't enough left for the Brewers to realistically choke away a playoff appearance... even if it seems like they're trying.
Thankfully we have Adam McCalvy to point out that any team facing Chris Carpenter, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee on consecutive days is going to struggle at the plate. He also points out that the Brewers don't play another winning team for the rest of the season, much less a team like the Phillies. Which is honestly all that really needs to be said about the weekend, but if you are one of the people who is worried about the Brewers let me ask you this. Continue reading »