Posted by Steve
There’s a blog post at the JS in which Roenicke says today’s game isn’t a “do or die” game. Of course, it isn’t by definition, because the Brewers are not eliminated if they lose today. By all other accounts, though, it’s a game they need to win.
Aside from the obvious fact that if they don’t win today, they can be eliminated in their next game, here are reasons why the Brewers need to win tonight:
-If they win tonight, they can hold over Yovani Gallardo for Game 1 of the NLCS. That means that Yo would be able to throw three times in that series. If Yo is needed to pitch game 5, he wouldn’t be able to pitch until Game 3 of the NLCS. That is a huge difference, particularly when you combine how great Yo’s been with how much Shaun Marcum has struggled as of late. The goal here is to win the World Series, so with that in mind, having Yo for Game 1 is a must.
-I don’t want to see Ian Kennedy again. I think Yo is the better pitcher, but it’s pretty darn close. Kennedy certainly has the ability to out-duel Gallardo in one game. The Brewers face a vastly inferior pitcher tonight in Joe Saunders; this is their best shot.
-Even though the Brewers would probably be favored in Game 5 at home, anything can happen in one game. The Brewers are a better team than Arizona, and Yo is a great pitcher, but anything can happen in one game. The bullpen could blow it. The shaky defense could cough up the game. An umpire could blow a call. The Brewers need to win tonight to avoid putting themselves in a situation where something like that could cost them.
-For the sake of my personal mental and physical health, they need to win tonight. They cannot put me through a Game 5 after having a 2-0 lead. The rest of my week will be shot, as clearly I will be unable to focus on anything at all.
I do feel pretty good about tonight’s game. I felt okay yesterday, but as it got close to game time I started to worry about Marcum for whatever reason. Obviously, Josh Collmenter had pitched well against the Brewers, too.
Tonight is very different. Joe Saunders is absolutely not a good pitcher. He’s one of the worst qualified starters in the NL. Granted, Randy Wolf is not very good either, so it could be a shootout. Still, if the Brewers don’t get at least five runs tonight it would be a huge disappointment. Among qualified NL starters, Joe Saunders is exactly last in strikeout rate: it’s just 4.58 ks per 9 innings! He also walks more than Wolf and allows more home runs.
The Brewers need to jump on Saunders early and take the crowd out of the game. I have confidence they will get back to the good, disciplined at-bats they had in the first two games. It should be a new-look lineup tonight as well, with Carlos Gomez getting the start in center. It will be nice to have his defense.
Time to close out this series. Line up your rotation and enter the NLCS at full strength.