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:
- Top of the third. 6-4 St. Louis.
- Narveson gives up a homerun to Pujols, obviously.
- Berkman's stupid face grounds out.
- Matt Holliday single.
- David Freese double. F this guy so hard, btw.
- Yadier (sweet neck tat, brah) Molina intentional walk.
- Punto sacrifice fly.
- LaTroy Hawkins enters the game.
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