Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Bitter Brew

The Brewers' quest to reach the post-season for the first time since 1982 is over. Their 6-3 loss to the Padres last night, combined with the Cubs' victory, has eliminated them from contention. Thus ends a season of high hopes that started strong but ended with a series of maddening breakdowns. Now the goal, however pathetic, is to win at least one of their final two games in order to finish with a winning record, something the Brewers franchise hasn't done since 1992.

Perhaps I shouldn't feel so disgusted. The future remains bright - they're a young team that will certainly contend for the NL Central title next year. But let's review the events of the past 11 days, and maybe you will better understand my smoldering rage:

Sept. 18: The Brewers win their fourth game in the row, a 9-1 trouncing of Houston, and move into a first-place tie with the Cubs. But Ben Sheets, Milwaukee's perpetually injured "ace", leaves the game with tightness in his hamstring. His season is over.

Sept. 22: Against John Smoltz and the Braves, the Brewers tie the game on J.J. Hardy's two-run homer. In extra innings, Corey Hart leads off the top of the 10th with a solo shot but the Brewers can't get any more, leaving the bases loaded. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Brewer's closer Francisco Cordero gives up a home run to Scott Thorman (average .221!). In the bottom of the 11th, the Braves win thanks to a fielding error by Rickie Weeks.

Sept. 23
: The Brewer's bullpen suffers another meltdown, surrendering a 4-1 lead by giving up six runs in the 7th and 8th innings. Milwaukee manger Ned Yost is thrown out of the game for arguing with the umpires. He would be ejected from two of the next three games, and is currently serving a suspension (vide infra). The Brewers are now 3.5 games behind of the Cubs.

Sept. 24-25
: Milwaukee takes two from the Cardinals in dominating fashion, while the Cubs lose. The gap is closed to 2 games. Do they still have a chance?!

Sept. 26: No, they do not. Even though the Cubs lose again, the Brewers suffer the most aggravating loss of all. Trailing the Cards 3-2 in the 7th and with one out, idiot manager Yost sends in pitcher Seth McClung with orders to drill Albert Pujols in the ribs (McClung gets this done with one pitch) in retaliation for St. Louis hitting Prince Fielder earlier in the game. Both Yost and McClung are ejected, and later suspended. Turnbow relieves McClung, strikes out the first batter, and then forgets where the strike zone is located, eventually walking in a run. The Cards go on to get four runs in the inning, thanks in large part to Yost's macho posturing.

Sept. 27-28: Brewers lose badly to the Padres, twice. In the first game, they somehow manage to commit five errors! It's over.... Now all of America gets to cheer for those lovable Cubies (excuse me while I swallow my own vomit).

Where do we go from here? Like I said above, this is a team with a bright future, but it's a future that needs to be actualized now. Given the meager size of Milwaukee's payroll, we're not going to be able to keep all these players together for very long. So time is crucial. Hopefully, GM Doug Melvin will acquire some much-needed pitching in the off-season. And another question needs to be answered: is Ned Yost up to the task of leading the Brewers to the post-season? His performance down the stretch has been miserable - clearly, the pressure got to him. So perhaps it's time to make a change. Regardless, it will take a good deal of winter to get this bitter taste out of my mouth.

1 comment:

David said...

I'm a life long Detroit Tigers fan so I understand and feel your pain. Good times are on the horizon...hang in there!