By Danny Mehigan
Considering the Brewers hadn’t yet won a series in 2009, a 3-game set in Philadelphia wasn’t exactly what they had in mind. Citizens Bank Park has been a house of horrors (no one has ever used that phrase before, I’m so witty you don’t even know how to handle it) lately for the Brew Crew. In September of last year, the Phils owned the Brewers in four straight games that directly led to Ned Yost’s firing and to the Brewers needing a miraculous recovery just to make the playoffs. Then, in those playoffs, Philly won the series 3-1 in relatively convincing fashion.
I made my first ever trip to Philly last year for the first game of that 4-game series. Some ass clown questioned my sexual orientation because I was wearing a Robin Yount jersey tee (hater in the house!), and when I realized that drunk Philadelphians at sporting events enjoy nothing more than fighting people they don’t like, I looked around for police. There was a group of 7 cops just feet away. One problem, they were all drinking and getting hype for the Phils. I have a sneaking suspicion Matt “The California Beach Boy” George was behind this. Fuckin’ Phillies …
Tuesday – Phillies 11, Brewers 4: Well, where have we seen this before? Ryan Braun hits a dinger in the first inning. Manny Parra scoffs at this “lead” you give him – and promptly gives up four runs in the bottom of the first. After Braun goes yard again in the 5th to make it 5-3, Jorge Julio takes it upon himself to remove the tension from the game by giving up five runs in shockingly quick fashion. Among Julio’s better jokes of the year so far: a 2-out walk to Jamie Moyer’s AARP-collecting ass after the count was 0-2. Brewers pitchers seem highly allergic to the strike zone so far this year. Braun went 5-for-5 on the day with all 4 RBI.
Wednesday – Brewers 3, Phillies 1: Color me surprised. Braden Looper doesn’t suck. In fact, he’s quite good. He threw six shutout innings and may very well be this team’s second best pitcher. It’s a miracle how easy it can be when you throw the ball over the plate. J.J. Hardy hit another home run, and Mike Cameron had a clutch 2-run double. Todd Coffey made things awfully interesting in the 9th when he gave up his first run ever as a Brewer, plus two more hits that put the winning run at the dish – but he locked it down for the save.
Thursday – Brewers 6, Phillies 1: It’s a mirac … they’ve done it! The Brewers have won a series! And the crowd goes wild! (Note: Since the games were in Philly, the crowd did not go wild. In fact, they booed.) The story of this game is Dave Bush and his fantastic beard. He twirled a no-hitter into the eighth inning, and it looked like the heavens were smiling upon him after Bill Hall made a ridiculous play to get the first out and preserve said no-no. But Matt Stairs lumbered (yes, he lumbered – because that’s how Matt Stairs rolls) up to the plate with a far more experienced beard and showed Bush that it takes time to harness the power of the beard. His moonshot off the foul pole ruined the no-no and the shutout, but it was still a fantastic outing. Prince Fielder ripped a 3-run double and knocked Cole Hamels out of the game with a linedrive to the shoulder. A good day in Brewerland.
Hot Fire Player of the Series: Ryan Braun. You might have thought Bushie was the obvious choice here, but I’m the brains behind this operation. Braun went 8-for-10 with 3 homers, 6 RBI and 4 walks in the three game set. Those literally are Little League numbers out there. His average jumped 105 points over three days, so we can definitely assume that will continue to happen. When his average somehow catapults above 1.000 in about 2 weeks, remember that you heard it here first.
Weak Sauce Player of the Series: Manny Parra. When I named my fantasy team “Danny Being Manny” this year, I was anticipating a good chuckle because of Manny Ramirez, his wacky antics and a dominant performance thanks to my roster of badasses (Professor Badass is my starting third baseman). Well, my fantasy team is hitting something like .095 and routinely gets rocked. I blame that on the misconception that it was named after Manny Parra. After all, he’s been awful – so quit ruining my favorite real team and my favorite fantasy team, you jackass! 4 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 8.16 ERA and 0-3 record. Get your game up, Manny. You’re embarrassing all of us.
Records: 6-9 (4-5 on the road).
Next up: The road trip concludes in Houston this weekend. Pitching will be handled by Yovani Gallardo, Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra and their crew of relieving rapscallions.