Well, the improbable has become the basically impossible and I am throwing in the towel on the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers playoff hopes. Notice I said playoff hopes and not the team itself? Yeah, that's how you do it. There is a lot of summer left with basically nothing to do so watching the Brewers is still going to be one of the cornerstones of my life until the season is over. I will still want them to win baseball games because watching my favorite baseball team win games is fun for me. I've never understood why some people take on the opinion that once a team is eliminated from the playoffs they should lose every game for the rest of the season to improve their draft pick. What fun is that? You people watch too much basketball. I'm not saying the Brewers should be adding pieces or not doing trades to improve themselves for the future, but if Yovani Gallardo is pitching and Ryan Braun is hitting then that can be a fun team to watch. You should want those guys to win especially if you, you know, have tickets to a game and want to have a good time. This isn't rocket science. This is rocket science:
It's okay to still like a baseball team that isn't going to the playoffs. If you don't agree just watch the Packers practice in sweatpants or whatever.
I really had high hopes for the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers and there has been nothing that happened this season to make me doubt those high hopes. Things simply didn't go their way. Their shortstop got hurt, their bullpen wasn't that good which was exacerbated by the fact that some of their better arms had to fill in for injured starting pitchers, a handful of players decided not to show up in April, John Axford had his wisdom teeth pulled and decided it would be fun to pitch like he was still in the middle of surgery and luck never once felt like it was on the Brewers side. A few breaks the other way and this team is right in the thick of it, but if I start agonizing over "what ifs" now I might start crying. WHAT IF ROENICKE DIDN'T GO MARCUM THEN NARVESON IN GAME 6 GUYS!? WHAT IF HE USED BEST RELIEVERS INSTEAD!? WHAT IF!?
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 »