Defense wins (and loses) championships
Once again, lack of offense and shoddy defense were the Brewers downfall last night.
Yovani Gallardo struggled in the 3rd inning, but the Brewers had 3 differnt opportunities to secure the third out and failed to do so.
Once he got out of that inning, YoGa seemed to settle down and pull himself together, meaning that if Cameron, Hall or Weeks had helped him, we'd have been in a much better position.
When I wrote this last night, I said that you can't blame Cameron for the extraordinary play that he just barely missed, since I didn't see it on TV. Today's paper brings Cameron quotes that say he broke on the ball wrong and had he read the ball correctly, it would have been an easy catch.
I'm of the opinion that Bill Hall isn't to blame for the botched bunt in the third. Bill picked up a wet ball out of wet grass in the rain and as he squeezed it to make the throw, it squirted out. Ok, so we missed out on a possible double play, but that wasn't guaranteed, especially with Rickie covering the bag. He still made a perfect throw to first to secure the bunt out, which is all that we can assume and expect.
Except, of course, when Rickie Weeks is covering the bag. Rickie botched a play that fourth graders make with ease. There's just no longer any excuses for Rickie Weeks being a starter. It belittles this team and it's prospects to put Rickie on the field as though he's the best option we have. His poor bat and even more awful fielding have seen enough time on the field and it's time for management to take a hard long look at him. Ned Yost said it earlier in the season - Rickie can't underacheive - he's never acheived. And that's a problem.
Rickie's been in the majors since mid-way through the 2005 season. 3+ years is enough to time have become comfortable, to have found his rhythm and really any other cliche that the club wants to use for an excuse as to why Rickie Weeks isn't performing. Maybe it's time to face facts with this guy and no sink anymore time, money or losses into his glove.
In the end, it was only 3 runs and Milwaukee's bats should have been able to make some noise and bring the team back in the game. Gallardo got struck by Chris Capuano syndrome - no run support. When Gallardo looks back and sees that he lost a game in which he had no earned runs, maybe Cappy can teach him how not to hate the rest of the team. He's got plenty of experience.
Remember that for Philly to take us in less than the 5 games, they have to either beat CC or win on the road at Miller Park. The Brewers should be able to pull a win out today and get one of the two at home. And then CC will be back for game 5.
I hate putting all our eggs in the CC basket because, frankly, he's human and there's only so much he can do. But Philly features a lot of lefty bats, so CC, aside from being CC, as our only viable lefty starter, is our best chance here.
Also, Memo to Corey Hart. If you don't like being booed, please stop indiscriminately swinging the bat.
I didn't say anything on Sunday as we were all basking in the Wild Card win, but your strikeout today in the 9th with runners on 2nd and 3rd (who would have tied the game) reminded me of why I was ready to personally strangle you during Sunday's game.
On Sunday, JJ Hardy walked in front of you walked on four straight pitches. Craig Counsell walked behind you on five pitches. Yet you went up there and swung at three straight 87 mph sliders and struck out. Between those 3 ABs, the pitcher's pitch count was 8 balls and 4 strikes. Three of those strikes were your wild, ineffectual swings at balls in the dirt. Why are you swinging? Why aren't you forcing an obviously struggling pitcher to prove he can throw a strike? Not only are you swinging when you shouldn't but then you're swinging at pitches you couldn't hit if you had Inspector Gadget's arms. I know you're 7 feet, or whatever, but that doesn't mean you should be swinging at pitches low and away.
Ancillary memo to Dale Sveum: Why is he allowed to swing away? When he heads to the plate in that situation, most of us in the stands put our hands in the air because we KNEW he was going to swing at anything and everything. Why didn't you? Why aren't you, or someone on your staff, on the top step telling him to be patient. That bat should have been glued to his shoulder. There are no excuses for that kind of undisciplined batting.
Today, Corey came up in the bottom of the ninth, with the tying run at 2nd and, shocking absolutely no one, struck out. If ever there's a time for a pinch hitter, Dale, I'm pretty sure that was it. It's the postseason, the never-ruffled-this-season Brad Lidge is struggling. A wild pitch puts your guys in scoring position. And the side struck out.
So Corey, if you don't want to be booed, prove you don't deserve it!