Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Brewers win game 5 in 10 innings, Advance to NLCS

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Game five of the NLDS between the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks is over, with the Brewers winning, 3-2, in ten innings.  But let me set the scene for you, as this game was even more exciting than the scoring shows.

The Brewers led, 2-1, after Yovani Gallardo had pitched a smart and gutty game through six innings.  Both relief pitchers, Takashi Saito and Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod), pitched well enough in their innings (Saito the 7th, K-Rod the 8th) to keep the game 2-1.   The Brewers went into the top of the 9th with Brewers closer John Axford, who hadn’t blown a save since April, brought into the game to close it out. 

But sometimes, the best-laid plans of mice and men do not work.  Instead, Arizona tied the game at 2-2, though Axford was able to get three outs and preserve the tie (he still got a blown save).

The ninth went by quietly, as only Jerry Hairston, Jr., hit the ball hard (and, unfortunately, right at Gerardo Parra in left field).   No runs, no hits, no errors.

The tenth inning rolled around, and Axford was still in there.   Axford had only pitched two innings seven times this past year; he usually is a strict one-inning closer, partly because of how successful he’s been.  As Axford had not looked all that good in the ninth, I was very concerned — however, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made the right move to leave Axford in as he breezed through the top of the tenth.

In the bottom of the tenth, J.J. Putz, the D-backs closer, was brought in to pitch to preserve the tie.  Craig Counsell went up to bat; he lined out to right field.  Carlos Gomez came up, and hit a single to left field.  Now Nyjer Morgan stood at the plate, and he’s been a tough clutch hitter for the Brewers all season long; I’m sure D-backs manager Kirk Gibson knew this, but he also knew that Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder (the Brewers #3 and #4 hitters) were up after Morgan and so Gibson elected to take his chances with Morgan.

At this point, Gomez stole second base, but was unable to take third on a wild pitch by Putz. 

Pitch after pitch went by; finally, Morgan got a pitch to hit and roped a single into center.   Gomez is the fastest man on the team, so I knew if anyone could score from second base, Gomez could do it.   And Gomez did it — he scored easily — which means the Brewers won, 3-2, and will advance to the National League Championship Series against the winner of the St. Louis Cardinals-Philadelphia Phillies matchup, which is currently in progress.  If the Cardinals win that game, the Brewers will have home field advantage in the next round of the playoffs; if the Phillies win, the Brewers will not.

This is the first post-season series the Brewers have won since 1982.  Like the ’82 Brewers, it took the ’11 Brewers five games to win the series; unlike the ’82 Brewers, they were ahead, 2-0 (the ’82 Brewers were behind, 0-2, even though they, too, had home field advantage; unlike this series, until game five, every road team had won the game).  And in this one, the ’11 Brewers did not win a single road game — but they didn’t have to, either.

Now, the one thing you need to be aware of is that Sam Ryan, reporter for TBS, was on the field right after the Brewers won the game.  Morgan dropped a few “f-bombs,” which I would’ve told you were quite predictable — but Ms. Ryan doesn’t seem to understand things like this. 

This is the same reporter who didn’t seem to know who in the world Brewers Hall of Famer Robin Yount was when she spoke with him during game 2; Yount was very polite to her, but if I had been Yount, I would’ve pulled her aside and pointed to Yount’s retired number #19, which is prominently displayed at Miller Park (the Brewers’ stadium).  I would’ve told her that I was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, too, and one of the few players to ever win Most Valuable Player awards at two different positions, shortstop in 1982, and center field in 1989.  And next time, that she should do her homework or stay home and let someone who knows more about baseball get paid.

There are many female baseball reporters who would’ve done a better job than Ms. Ryan did, during game 2 and at the end of game 5; I do blame her for even putting a microphone on Morgan because while I really like Morgan as a player, he’s a high-strung guy who’s been known to lose his cool before.**  (Granted, he was on a huge emotional high at this point.  But he’s not like Brewers sluggers Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart or Rickie Weeks; Morgan doesn’t have that level of self-control and everyone should know it unless they’re completely clueless, like Ms. Ryan apparently is.)

Anyway, Axford ends up with the ultimate rarity for a closer — a blown save, and a win.  I’m sure he’ll take it, as will all Brewers fans.

What a game.  What a finish.

Let’s hope the Brewers have something left for the NLCS, where Zack Greinke will be pitching game 1.

——————-

** Now, does this excuse Morgan for dropping the “f-bombs?”  No, not really.  It makes it comprehensible, but it certainly isn’t excusable.  Morgan should know better.

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  1. […] and feels (see the two “f-bombs” he let loose with in the TBS coverage I talked about here during the game 5 coverage).  Morgan also is known for being a player whose behavior is right on […]


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