I bet some of you out there want to know more about the Brewers series last weekend against the Twins. You probably think I didn’t write anything because I’m a lazy sumbitch and I took advantage of the long weekend to do debaucherous things. You are right on some accounts, but I refuse to admit which ones.
But the real reason is that the Twins series never happened. There’s no way a (former) 1st-place team would get stomped on like that in three straight games against a team scuffling under .500. We were all duped! Some rascal from Eden Prairie or some shit must have been playing video games and somehow switched the feed onto TVs all across the country. Tricky Minnesotans with their ice fishing and their videogame tricks.
As for the Cardinals-Brewers series, that did actually happen. And while it didn’t work out like we hoped (more ass-kicking, jersey untucking, rabble rousing and the like), it wasn’t all bad.
Monday – Brewers 1, Cardinals 0 (10 innings): Baseball haters likely think this was one of the most boring games in history (at least since last week’s 1-0 Brewers win over St. Louis …) but people like me love a good pitcher’s duel. Neither team decided to get a hit for a long time as Yovani Gallardo and Chris Carpenter tossed gems. The Crew somehow allowed Carp to throw 8 innings when he was on a pitch count of 90. Can’t really blame them for not working the count though, because he just got everyone to 0-2 right away and pwned. But Gallardo didn’t really give a damn, because he was just as good. Eight shutout innings for both starters. The only offense came in the form of Bill Hall, who laced a walkoff single to the right center gap with two outs in the 10th. Celebrations abound. Somewhere, Al Hrabosky’s old ass bitches about the damn kids and all their racket.
Tuesday – Cardinals 8, Brewers 1: Welp, so much for unrelenting dominance of another NL Central rival. The Crew’s best intentions of owning the ‘Lou like they do the Pirates were dashed when they trotted Jeff Suppan out to the mound. Sure, he pitched great last week, but lighting doesn’t strike twice (or if it does, it’s a phenomonon, and we don’t believe in your witchcraft here at the Swing). The Cards hit three dingers off Suppan and another off McClung in a game that wasn’t really close and/or interesting at all. The Crew missed a few opportunities early on, but it was just one of those nights. Movin’ on.
Wednesday – Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: So where’s this ballerific offense gone lately? The fake Twins series didn’t produce much, and a total of just four runs against St.L? Boo that. Frank the Cat (as I’ll always refer to him in person, because I just can’t pronounce that last name without sounding drunk) Catalanotto had a 2-run triple to drive in the only runs, but J.J. Hardy ended his return from the walking wounded with a groundout to strand two in the 9th. Hardy did have three hits though, so it’s good to see him and his soulpatch back on track.
I’m going to ignore the rest of the game to discuss a little strategery. Situation one: Score tied at 2, one out, 6th inning, man on third. It’s pretty early, right? Giving up a run for an out isn’t the worst thing in the world, but a popup or strikeout is ideal. At least play the infield at medium depth so the runner holds on a hard hit grounder. Well, Ken Macha does not like my ideas (my handwritten postcard must not have reached the dugout in time once the situation arose … fuckin’ Post Office, always ruining stuff). He played the infield in, and Jason LaRue lined a single over Craig Counsell’s head for the go-ahead run. If they are at normal depth, or even halfway, it’s an out and Joe Thurston is forced to come up with a 2-out hit to drive in the run. Befuddling. But not as weird as the bottom of the 9th.
Situation two: After Mat Gamel led off the inning with a walk, Macha used Jody Gerut as a pinch-hitter. Pretty obvious bunting situation here. Get the tying run into scoring position with just one out, and do work from there. False! Macha has Gerut swing away and he pops out. A few batters later, Counsell singles. If Gamel is on 2nd base there, it’s a tie ball game and we’re going to extras. But instead, it’s just 1st and 2nd and Hardy ends the game a few pitches later. Macha explains himself here, but I still don’t get it. If his explanation is true, then Gerut can’t bunt. And if he’s hitting .220, can’t bunt and is a speedy backup outfielder, why the hell did we just trade for him? Must be more of the witchcraft business. Sabatoge!
You know when a series loss isn’t really a series loss? When Suppan pitches. It’s such an assumption the Brewers will lose when he’s on the hill that it’s basically a series split. If he does win, that’s just an added (and rare) bonus. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t a math major. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.
Hot Fire Player of the Series: Yovani Gallardo. Probably the best pitching performance this year for the Crew, other than maybe his 1-0 win over the Pirates or his complete game in Houston. Hmm … we’re trending towards something. Please don’t pitch for the Yankees in 2012! The raw numbers: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K. Faaaan-tastic.
Weak Sauce Player of the Series: Ryan Braun. This might be a first for Braunie, but he deserves it. He got hit by a pitch and was taken out of Tuesday’s game early, so we can forgive him a little since he was banged up. Still though, 0-for-9, 2 K, and a bunch o’ dudes left on base in Wednesday’s finale.
As for my numerous Cardinal fan friends acquaintances that reminded me how poorly Braun played, feel free to notice that Pujols was 1-for-7 with 4 K. Yeah, he had 2 RBI and 5 BB, but his only hit was a definite double play that turned into a RBI single thanks to a terrible hop on the infield. I’m not saying … I’m just saying.
Records: 27-20, 2nd in NL Central, 1 game behind St. Louis. 13-9 at home.
Next up: The Reds come into Milwaukee for a 3-game set to finish off the mini-homestand. Braden Looper, Dave Bush and Gallardo will perform the pitching duties. Haha, duties.