Tag Archives: brewers

NLCS game 2: Dodgers 4, Brewers 3

In 35 years of watching baseball I had never been to a postseason game, until this Saturday, when I was able to get two tickets to Game 2 of the National League Championship Series through a wonderful terrific beautiful friend with connections.

First of all, I salute whoever the free spirit was who slammed a Zima right before entering Miller Park.

The game started at 3pm; in late afternoon with the roof shut at Miller Park there’s a slant-line of sunlight across the field which is lovely to look at and probably terrible to hit in.

And indeed there wasn’t a lot of hitting to start with. Wade Miley, once a bad Oriole, now a good Brewer, never looked dominant, giving up lots of hard-hit balls including a shot by Jeremy Freese in the first that Lorenzo Cain hauled back in from over the wall, but somehow pitched 5 2/3 only allowing 2 hits (and collecting a single himself.) Hyun-jin Ryu matched him zero for zero. Every seat in Miller Park full, everyone attentive to the game, a level of attention I’ve never seen there. The guy behind us kept saying “NASTY, throw something NASTY.” CJ believes he sees Marlins Man in the front row — he’s right! Brewers get runners on second and third with one out, Dodgers intentionally walk Yelich to load the bases, (wave of boos), Braun delivers the RBI groundout but can’t score any more. Travis Shaw hits a solo shot to deepest center, the Brewers go up 3-0, and people start to smell win, but the Dodgers lineup has good hitters all the way down to #8 and the usually reliable Milwaukee bullpen starts to crack. Jeremy Jeffress comes in with runners on first and second and nobody out, immediately gives up a single to Joc Pederson, now they’re loaded, still nobody out, Brewers up 3-1. Manny Machado, on third base, keeps jumping off the bag, trying to distract Jeffress. But Jeffress strikes out Yasiel Puig, who’s so angry he smashes his bat over his knee. Crowd exults. Then he walks light-hitting catcher Austin Barnes to force in a run. Nobody’s up in the bullpen. Crowd panics. Yasmini Grandal comes in to hit in the pitcher’s spot and Jeffress somehow gets the double play ball and is out of it. But the next inning, Jeffress stays in a little too long; Chris Taylor leads off with a lucky little dink of an infield single and then Turner muscles a ball out to the short corner in left field; 4-3 Dodgers and it stays that way.

But the Brewers do threaten. 43,000 Brewers fans want to see Yelich get one more chance to be the hero. Hernan Perez draws a walk in the bottom of the ninth, steals while Cain strikes out. So Yelich gets to bat with 2 outs and a runner in scoring position. He grounds out. Crowd deflates. But that’s all you can ask of a baseball game, right? The hitter you want in the situation you want with the game on the line and whatever happens happens. Great baseball. Great team. I hope they win it all.  Maybe I’ll try to be there when they do.

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Game report: Cubs 5, Brewers 0

  • I guess the most dominant pitching performance I’ve seen in person?  Quintana never seemed dominant.  The Brewers hit a lot of balls hard.  But a 3-hit complete game shutout is a 3-hit complete game shutout.
  • A lot of Cubs fans. A lot a lot.  My kids both agreed there were more Cubs than Brewers fans there, in a game that probably mattered more to Milwaukee.
  • For Cubs fans to boo Ryan Braun in Wrigley Field is OK, I guess.  To come to Miller Park and boo Ryan Braun is classless.  Some of those people were wearing Sammy Sosa jerseys!
  • This is the first time I’ve sat high up in the outfield.  And the view was great, as it’s been from every other seat I’ve ever occupied there.  A really nice design.  If only the food were better.
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Orioles 7, Brewers 6

CJ, AB and I spent Memorial Day at Miller Park, watching the Orioles outlast the Brewers 7-6 in an exciting 10-inning contest; it was Baltimore’s first visit to Milwaukee since 2008, which CJ and I also attended. Some details (CJ is helping me write this):

  • Lots of production from the bottom of the Brewers order, including back-to-back homers by Khris Davis and Lyle Overbay.  At that point Chris Tillman looked so overmatched that Kyle Lohse, in his last AB of the day, was apparently given permission to swing for the fences and hope for the best.  (He struck out.)
  • There’s nothing like watching AL pitchers try to bat.  Tillman made three tries at making contact on a bunt attempt, missed all three, and walked back to the dugout looking glum.
  • As an Oriole, Mark Reynolds was the worst third baseman I’ve ever seen, but somebody on Milwaukee’s staff has turned him around; he’s been notably good in both games we’ve seen this year, today making a diving stop and then firing a perfect throw to first from his knees.
  • Play of the game:  bottom of the ninth, Brewers with runners on second and third with one out, Reynolds up.  Ron Roenicke calls the “contact play” — pinch runner Elian Herrera takes off from third on contact, the idea being that he can probably score even on a soft groundout.  Unfortunately for Milwaukee, Reynolds hit a hard line shot directly to J.J. Hardy, who caught it and nonchalantly flipped to Manny Machado for the double play before Herrera even realized he wasn’t about to score the game-winning run.
  • Barbecue brisket sandwich from the Smokehouse unexpectedly good.  CJ ate four pieces of pizza.  Correction, CJ wishes me to say he “devoured” four pieces of pizza.  AB ate a hotdog.
  • Surprisingly high density of O’s fans in the seats behind the visiting dugout — I’d say 10-20%.
  • Former Brewer Hardy gets big cheers here when when announced.
  • I never get tired of watching Darren O’Day and his weirdo delivery.  He’s now been an extremely good pitcher for two full years and 2014 so far, and I don’t think people outside Baltimore have heard of him yet.

Here’s my Brewer-loving friend Laura Hemming, right before Roenicke called the contact play:

Sorry, Laura!

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Brewers report

CJ and I took in a couple of Brewers games last weekend, both victories over the Pirates.  Perhaps the greatest pleasure was seeing Carlos Gomez do something that’s only been done a few dozen times in baseball history; after walking to lead off the bottom of the third, he stole second, then, with the pitcher up, stole third.  And then he broke for home.  A.J. Burnett uncorked a panic pitch that got away from Pittsburgh’s catcher and Gomez scored without a play.  He had stolen his way around the entire basepath!

Except he hadn’t.  Ordinarily, you’re credited with a steal of home if you’re off before the pitch; but official scorer Tim O’Driscoll ruled that the Brewers had been attempting a suicide squeeze, which means the play is scored as a wild pitch, not a stolen base.

Still, I know what I saw; an exhibition of brazenly aggressive baserunning, the likes of which I have not seen since college, when Tom Scocca used to run on me that way in Atari baseball, because it was really hard to make accurate throws in that game, and because all mercy and human feeling drained out of Scocca when he played Atari baseball.

More Brewers impressions:

  • About 60% of jerseys at a Brewers game are Ryan Braun jerseys.  Judging from the cheers he got, I’m pretty sure nobody in Milwaukee cares whether Braun used or is using PEDs.
  • The scoreboard at Miller Park displays OPS!  Very forward-looking.  On the other hand, there’s no out-of-town scoreboard on the outfield wall, which to me seems an unforgivable omission.
  • Once a year or so I think “hey, burger and brat on the same bun, that sounds like a pretty great sandwich,” and I order one.  Burger and brat on the same bun is not actually a great sandwich, but merely a meaty confusion.
  • American Science and Surplus is only about 10 minutes from Miller Park and is one of the most amazing stores I’ve ever seen.  You can buy typewriters there, or teflon hexagons in bulk, or sunglasses with hidden mirrors in the lenses so you can see behind you, or full-color posters depicting all the kinds of ulcers.  You can buy a 5-foot-long whisk for only 18 bucks.  Why didn’t I?
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The Milwaukee Brewers: change we can believe in

As my beloved Orioles close out 2008 with a 4-19 undead September, my newly adopted NL team, the Brewers, are in the playoffs for the first time since they broke O’s fans’ hearts on the last day of the 1982 season to win the AL East title. And as in 1982, the Brewers seemed to have a playoff berth well in hand with a few weeks to go, then came this close to blowing it, then recovered just in time. Barack Obama must be watching, and hoping his story comes out the same. But he can’t be rooting for the Brewers too fervently; he’s a White Sox fan, and if Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes are at issue, a Chicago-Milwaukee World Series is close to his worst-case scenario. (If the polls stay as they are now, the damage in the Philadelphia suburbs from a White Sox – Phillies matchup is probably worse.)

But the World Series this election really deserves is Brewers – Red Sox. In the Brewers you have the young, exciting team from the side of the aisle that’s won only two of the last six series. And the Red Sox are the team with some experience in the big game, the team that it used to be cool and transgressive to like, before they turned into a carbon copy of their hyper-rich former rival now fallen on hard times.

Mark Attanasio, the Brewers’ owner, was at a multi-million dollar fundraiser for Obama in LA two weeks ago. John Henry, who owns the Red Sox, gave tens of thousands to the DNC in 2004 but according to Fundrace has stayed out of the 2008 campaign. Draw whatever conclusions you will.

I do think Obama’s going to win Wisconsin. And not just because he’s ahead in the polls, or because he reminds me of the Brewers. It’s because he rides a Trek.

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The Orioles’ first visit to Miller Park, and ours

The Orioles came to Milwaukee this weekend to play the Brewers, their first visit here since the Brewers switched leagues, and — if I understand the interleague schedule correctly — their last until 2014. So it was time for CJ to attend his first ballgame. I didn’t expect him to make it through the whole game, but he did — partly because both pitchers worked fast and the game only lasted two and a half hours, partly because I bought a tub of popcorn at the 7th inning stretch which held most of CJ’s attention during the late going.

Not that there was much to watch; the Orioles lost, 3-2, but it never seemed that close. Apart from the two-run pinch-hit homer from Oscar Salazar, the Orioles never seemed to catch up with Milwaukee pitching. When you see a lineup that ends with a Murderee’s Row like Ramon Hernandez, Adam Jones, Freddie Bynum, and Daniel Cabrera, you rest your head in your hands and wonder how we ever score at all.

Cabrera was lousy on the mound, too — in trouble and behind in the count all game long, and lucky to get out of it allowing just three runs. He managed only one 1-2-3 inning out of the six he pitched. I had the impression that Cabrera was the kind of pitcher who was either dominatingly brilliant or wild with flashes of dominating brilliance — but in fact, Cabrera on a bad day looks like any other mediocre pitcher.

CJ didn’t really follow the game, though he clapped when he saw other people clapping (in other words, at the wrong times). His favorite part of the trip was when the retractable roof opened. His second favorite part was the Sausage Race. His third favorite part was a tie between the aforementioned tub of popcorn and a corn dog.

A little more Daniel Cabrera:

  • In person you get a sense of how weirdly tall and big he’s built — not really a superathlete tall and big, more of a hyperpituitary tall and big.
  • This is especially evident when you watch his ungainly attempts to hit. Cabrera has 11 at-bats in his career, and has struck out every time. Is this a record?

Addendum: Almost forgot to record the strange dream I had after coming back from the game.  Because of the construction on I-94, Brewers officials stopped my car on the way out of the park and asked if I could drive Melvin Mora and Cabrera back to their hotel.  Cabrera got in the back next to CJ and was clearly pretty cramped, but I didn’t feel comfortable asking Mora to get out so they could switch.  Amateur psychoanalysts, get to work!

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