Posted by Steve
That was incredibly fun. The team played well, looked good and actually won a playoff game. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was watching in the first couple innings. They were laying off close pitches, working the count and taking walks. They frustrated Jamie Moyer by not swinging at balls, and his pitch count shot up. 61 pitches after two innings; 90 pitches after four. It was, in a word, beautiful.
Time for some frustrating numbers in the series. The Brewers’ bullpen has allowed zero earned runs in 12 innings this series, and the Phillies have only scored runs in three of 27 innings! Of course, those numbers are frustrating because they imply the Brewers would be winning the series.
Suppan vs. Joe Blanton tomorrow, and I will be in attendance. I can’t wait, even though I’m struggling to convince myself Suppan won’t get lit up. If the Brewers can find a way to win this game, it will set up an amazing Game 5 match-up of CC Sabathia against Cole Hamels. That would be just awesome to watch.
Except it didn’t. Again.
I am surprisingly taking less enjoyment out of the Cubs losing than I figured. Last year they weren’t a very good team, and I was very pleased to see them get worked over by Arizona in the playoffs. This year is different, though. The Cubs had 97 wins and were the best team in the National League. You could argue (ok, I have argued) that the Cubs’ record was inflated a bit by guys have career years (Theriot, Dempster, Fontenot, etc) but they were still a very good team.
This team was expected to go to the World Series, which is why I feel just a tiny bit bad. Don’t get me wrong; I am thrilled those awful Cub “fans” who come to Milwaukee and taunt Brewer fans for nine innings are crushed tonight, but I feel really bad for die-hard, passionate Cub fans. I have to imagine this is especially brutal for those fans tonight.
This goes to show how much of a crapshoot baseball playoffs really are–Anything can happen, particularly in a short series. The 2000 Brewers would have a chance against the 1927 Yankees in a short playoff series, because even the best team will beat the worst fairly regularly. It’s the nature of baseball, which is why I just shake my head at people overreacting to the results of playoff performance.
I happened to be listening to a bit of Chicago sports radio tonight, and that’s exactly what was going on. Alfonso Soriano is “a dog,” Aramis Ramirez chokes and Ryan Theriot didn’t show up. The best was when “baseball insider” Bruce Levine said the Cubs “aren’t good enough to win in October.” Huh? They may be the best team in baseball. They are undoubtedly good enough to win in October. Just because they didn’t does not make that any less true.