Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011

Is the sky falling after Game 4?

By Nicole
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Pitching - specifically starting pitching - was the story as the Brewers went on an incredible winning run in August and eventually closed out the season in September. Zach Greinke was undefeated at home. Shaun Marcum was clutch on the road. Chris Narveson had far exceeded expectations. Randy Wolf was a solid #4. And with two games in Phoenix, that seems to have all gone out the window. Randy Wolf lasted just three innings tonight - giving up a first-inning grand slam en-route to his seven earned runs in those three innings. Marco Estrada was solid, but Chris Narveson gave up two more runs. While the Brewers hit plenty of long fly balls that likely would have been home runs in Miller Park, the D'Backs locked in on the left field corner and hit home run after home run to that porch, hanging 10 runs on the Brewers tonight. For most of the game, it felt like the lead wasn't insurmountable. The Brewers have a high-powered offense and they spent the first few innings put a run an inning on the board. But the game progressed and the pitching staff kept giving up runs and the Brewers kept failing to bring home runners in scoring position. Rickie Weeks has just one hit in the NLDS. After combining for nine hits in two games in Milwaukee, Fielder and Braun could barely put the bat on the ball in Phoenix. I haven't watched a game and been so frustrated with the team in a very long time. When your biggest offensive output comes from a Carlos Gomez home run, you know things aren't going well. The consensus on Twitter and in the Brew Crew Ball game thread is that the Brewers have the advantage in Game 5 and we should all believe that Gallardo can pull it out. Gallardo was sterling in his Game 1 start, going eight strong and allowing just one run. But the pessimist in me says we can't expect that from him again. At the beginning of this series, I was probably most confident in Marcum's start in Game 3, on the road, where he'd been so successful all season. Greinke on short rest made me nervous. Of course, those two starts had the opposite outcomes of what I expected, so who knows if I have any idea. Early on in tonight's game, the team was still in it. They hadn't given up, despite the early deficit. But as the game wore on, the fight went out of the team. They weren't able to score more than one run at a time. They looked as bad as they had during Game 3 on Tuesday night. At no point did it feel like the team was going to have a chance to get back into Game 3. That sort of attitude makes me nervous. We know these guys are competitors and they have bounced back during the season. And you'd think that the atmosphere in Miller Park will be electric. But I have to admit, I'm worried. If I admit it, I've been worried all along. I refused to believe, even after the wins in Games 1 and 2. That's just how I am. I won't believe it til its here. Gallardo's performance in Game 1 was an anomaly for him, not the norm. He was the pitcher we all know and hope he can be, but there's absolutely no reason for us to believe that he'll be able to be that dominant again. We can hope. But past experience says that may not be the case. Don't take my word for it. There will be tons of bloggers out there tomorrow telling you not to worry - and maybe they're right. But I know that if I stroll into Miller Park on Friday all cocky and confident, my heart will be absolutely pulverized if they lose. I'd rather be a little pessimistic and cautious and be totally surprised when they win.
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