Tag:Brewers
Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:20 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 11:48 pm
 

Brewers misplays leads Cardinals to NLCS lead

Mark Kotsay

By C. Trent Rosecrans

ST. LOUIS -- Milwaukee continued its postseason road woes, dropping Game 3 to St. Louis, 4-3, as the Brewers take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS.

Hero:  The Cardinals third baseman went 3 for 4 with two doubles and the RBI that turned out to be the game-winner. Freese is hitting .500 in the series and .367 in the postseason, helping bring some pop to the back of the lineup. He leads all Cardinals with 11 RBI in the postseason and three home runs. 

Goat: Ron Roenicke said "something always good seems to happen when he's in there" when asked about starting Mark Kotsay. Something good did happen -- he homered to lead off the third. The problem was two bad things happened in the first because he was in the game. Kotsay was doubled off of second base on Prince Fielder's liner to center. And, in the bottom of the inning, he was unable to get a Jon Jay sinking liner and allowed it to get past him for a double, starting the Cardinals' big inning.

Turning point: The Cardinals batted around in the first, scoring four runs. But the bleeding could have stopped after three had Corey Hart been able to corral a liner by Freese. It appeared to go right off the tip of Hart's glove. Matt Holliday scored the Cardinals' fourth run in the inning.

It was over when …: When Cardinals closer Marc Rzepcynski got the one batter he came in to face -- Prince Fielder -- to strike out for the second out of the eighth. Lance Lynn stayed in to start the inning after pitching the seventh inning, getting Ryan Braun to ground out to second. Rzepcynski came in and struck out Fielder on four pitches. Jason Motte then replace Rzepcynski to strike out Rickie Weeks.

Next: The Brewers' Randy Wolf and Cardinals' Kyle Lohse face off in Game 4 on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: October 12, 2011 9:58 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 10:23 pm
 

Pitchers struggle early in NLCS Game 3

Yovani Gallardo

By C. Trent Rosecrans

ST. LOUIS -- That pitchers duel we expected in Game 3 of the NLCS? Well, that's not quite what we've got so far.

The Cardinals batted around in the first inning, scoring tour runs, while Chris Carpenter needed two double plays in the first three innings to avoid giveng up any more than three runs he allowed in the first third of the game. 

Both pitchers struggled with their control, as Gallardo needed 82 pitches to get through three innings, Carpenter 67. Carpenter walked just one in the first four innings and hit another batter. Both were done after five innings. Carpenter gave up three runs on six hits, striking out three and walking one. Gallardo gave up four runs on eight hits, walking five and striking out two. He's the first pitcher to walk at least five and throw three wild pitches since St. Louis' Rick Ankiel in 2000. In fairness, though, two of Gallardo's walks were intentional.

"Carp's not sharp, Gallardo's been sharper," Tony La Russa said during the TBS in-game interview.

Carpenter walked the second batter he faced and hit the third -- but was bailed out when surprise starter Mark Kotsay wondered too far off second base on Prince Fielder's liner to center and was doubled up to end the inning. 

Gallardo got no such help in the bottom of the first -- with Mark Kotsay unable to make a diving catch on Jon Jay's sinking line drive to score the first run and then Albert Pujols doubled in another. Another run scored on a Yadier Molina double play and then David Freese doubled to right on a ball Corey Hart just missed.

The Brewers were able to get to Carpenter in the second on three straight singles that scored one and then a sacrifice fly by Gallardo. Kotsay then homered to lead off the third.

Both teams have very good bullpens, and it looks like they'll need them.

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Posted on: October 12, 2011 7:20 pm
 

NLCS hopes to dodge the rain

Octavio Dotel

By C. Trent Rosecrans

ST. LOUIS -- Brewers starter Randy Wolf isn't starting tonight and he say he wasn't worried about getting Game 3 of the NLCS in ahead of rain here, but he did worry enough to check out the forecast. 

"According to my AccuWeather I have on my iPhone, we are not supposed to get any rain, so I think we are going to be OK," Wolf said. "It's usually pretty right, too."

The Weather Channel app on my iPhone said there was supposed to be rain all afternoon and possible through the night, but I haven't felt a drop yet, so maybe I should change apps -- even though the skies have been gray all day and it's looked like it could rain at any minute.

"Cautiously optimistic is kind of the way I would explain it," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said before the game. "They think -- the latest check was 3 p.m. They are going to check again at 5 p.m. They are optimistic that we can play. But they are also, by the way, they were very clear, the Commissioner does not want a lot of delays, interruptions and (the like.)"

Ron Roenicke said he'd talked to Joe Garagiola Jr. of the commissioner's office and they don't want anything to mess with the starters -- especially with the matchup of the team's two best pitchers.

"I think probably if we get to about the 6:30 mark is really an important time when -- if we are going to start this thing on time and what we are going to do. Because you get farther than that, and we run into a situation where we ran into this year, where both starters were warmed up and walking off the field and we had an hour-and-a-half delay," Roenicke said. "Something I'm sure the Yankee-Detroit game had something to do with that and what happened. So those are tough calls, because there's some times when -- right now it looks like it's drizzle, but something can happen later on where it builds up more."

With rain being the only thing to mar this postseason so far, it's obvious that baseball wouldn't want another game changed by the weather. Both the Detroit-New York ALDS and the ALCS have had delays and rainouts. The National League has been lucky so far -- helped by the fact both Milwaukee and Arizona have retractable domes. But of course, today's the first game the Brewers have had without a dome in the postseason, so there's rain in order.

Maybe it's just following Wolf.

"You know, my first years in Philadelphia, I was nicknamed the Rain Man, because it seemed like every time I pitched, it rained," Wolf said. "But I learned, you just get ready for the game and you don't worry about what the weather is, because that's another external thing you can't control. But I think (Yovani Gallardo), today, he's going to be ready to pitch; he always is. I don't think that will be much of a concern."

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Posted on: October 12, 2011 6:58 pm
 

Kotsay starting in CF for Brewers in Game 3

Nyjer Morgan

Mark KotsayBy C. Trent Rosecrans

ST. LOUIS -- Those hoping for a fight in the NLCS had the chances lowered a little bit when Brewers manager Ron Roenicke put out his lineup for Game 3 of the series with Mark Kotsay in center field and batting second instead of Nyjer Morgan.

Morgan, of course, got into a shouting match on the field last month with Cardinals' Game 3 starter, bringing the bad blood between the two teams to a boiling point. On Tuesday, Roenicke hinted that he'd be leaning toward a different center fielder for Game 3, but it was assumed it would be Carlos Gomez, not Kotsay getting the call. The stated reason was for defensive purposes.

"I always feel good when Kotsay is in the lineup -- especially when we start him, he seems to have a big day, something always good seems to happen when he's in there -- numbers matched up good," Roenicke said. "I think, too, if Nyjer had beens winging the bat well, I wouldn't have even thought about this, but I think it's the right thing to do here."

Kotay, a left-handed hitter, is 4 for 11 lifetime against Carpenter with a double and a home run. He's 0 for 5 with a walk so far this postseason,  Morgan is 0 for 4 in the NLCS and 3 for 20 in the playoffs.

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Posted on: October 12, 2011 6:31 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 8:11 pm
 

Brewers add patch to honor former groundskeeper

By C. Trent Rosecrans

ST. LOUIS -- You'll notice a new addition to the Brewers uniforms for the rest of the playoffs starting Wednesday, a patch with the initials GV to recognize the passing of Gary VandenBerg, the team's longtime groundskeeper.

VandenBerg, 59, had a long-term battle with cancer and died on Monday. He started with the Brewers in 1981.

"I think it's great we're (adding patches), he's a part of the Brewer family and has been for a while, and it's very sad," Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf said. "I talked to him quite a bit -- I'm always one to talk to the grounds crew about things I like or don't like about the mound, and I want to be involved. The one thing you learn throughout the years is that the grounds crew wants to get things right. … He was always great and was always very receptive about things. It's really sad, be we saw what happened over the course of a year you can have your life squeezed out of you. It's really sad to watch his deterioration."

The Cardinals will also honor VandenBerg with a moment of silence before Game 3.

"Gary was one of the most loved individuals in this organization, and this is a tremendous loss for everyone connected to the Milwaukee Brewers," Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said in a statement. "Gary was one of the most dedicated and positive persons that we will ever know. We were fortunate to have Gary as a member of the Brewers family, and we all feel a tremendous sense of sadness today. Our prayers are with the VandenBerg family and all of those who loved him."

On Tuesday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa offered his condolences at the news conference.

"I really would like to express my sympathies on the passing of Gary," La Russa said. "A lot of us have known him for a long time. That's a real blow to the Milwaukee Brewers. We wish [his] family the best. He was a really good guy." 

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Posted on: October 11, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 1:28 am
 

NLCS Game 3: Cardinals riding high



By C. Trent Rosecrans

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' Game 2 victory wrestled homefield advantage from the Brewers as the National League Championship Series heads to St. Louis with Milwaukee needing at least one victory at Busch Stadium to ensure a return to the friendly confines of Miller Park.

Milwaukee struggled on the road this season, but still managed to go 4-5 at Busch Stadium as the two teams split their 18-game season series.

NLCS

"Everybody talks about our home record, but we didn't go undefeated at home by any stretch," Brewers third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. said following Monday's loss.." It's a loss, but we've just got to go on the road and bounce back."

The Cardinals have won 15 consecutive get-away day games, tabbing their travels "happy flights." However, those "happy flights" leave a little bit of a hangover. In the games after their last 14 "happy flights," the Cardinals have gone 4-10.

Still, the Cardinals left Milwaukee happy, and with the series taking a much different complexion than it had after Milwaukee's Game 1 victory. Now, Milwaukee has to go on the road and depend on a starter that has struggled against the Cardinals and two more that have not been very good in the playoffs.

"(Winning Game 2) was big to us. We're 1-1, that was big to win, just because they've done well (in MIlwaukee)," Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay said following Monday night's victory. "But it was big for us to fight back and get a win after (Sunday's) game."

A win behind Chris Carpenter would put the Brewers on the ropes and could set the stage for the Cardinals' next happy flight to be after Game 2 of the World Series.

PITCHER MATCHUP

Gallardo vs. Cardinals: Yovani Gallardo has certainly been the Brewers' best -- and only consistent -- starter in the playoffs, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his two starts against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS. The rest of the team's starters are 1-3 with a 11.54 ERA in the playoffs.

However, Gallardo was 1-3 with a 5.70 ERA in four starts against the Cardinals this season and is 1-7 with a 5.66 ERA in 11 career starts against St. Louis. Among his four starts against the Cardinals this season were his best and worst performances of the season. On May 7, he allowed just one hit in eight scoreless innings, but on Sept. 1 at Miller Park, the Cardinals tagged him for eight earned in 4 2/3 innings.

Carpenter vs. Brewers: The Cardinals' right-hander is coming off a masterful victory over close friend Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the NLDS. While Carpenter struggled in Game 2 start on short rest, but Carpenter is fully rested going into Tuesday's start.

Carpenter was 2-2 against the Brewers this season with a 3.86 ERA -- but he was 2-0 in two starts against the Brewers at Busch Stadium, including a four-hit shutout on Sept. 7.

Ryan Braun's struggled a bit against Carpenter, going 5 for 22 (.227) with a home run and six strikeouts. Prince Fielder is 8 for 26 (.308) with two home runs, five walks and eight strikeouts against Carpenter.

Pitching matchup advantage:

 

If both are on in Game 3, it should be the opposite of the slugfests we saw in Miwaukee. Even as Gallardo has developed into a frontline starter, Carpenter's history of success in big games (and on full rest) is too much to overlook.

LINEUPS

Brewers Cardinals
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Corey Hart RF 1 Rafael Furcal SS
2 Mark Kotsay CF 2 Jon Jay CF
3 Ryan Braun LF 3 Albert Pujols 1B
4 Prince Fielder 1B 4 Matt Holliday LF
5 Rickie Weeks 2B 5 Lance Berkman RF
6 Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B 6 Yadier Molina C
7 Yuniesky Betancourt SS 7 David Freese 3B
8 Jonathan Lucroy C 8 Nick Punto 2B
9 Yovani Gallardo RHP 9 Chris Carpenter RHP

NOTES

  • In 23 of the last 42 NLCS -- including this one -- the loser of Game 1 has come back to win Game 2.
  • St. Louis' 17 hits on Monday night tied for the second most the team had ever collected in a  postseason game. The Cardinals had 20 hits in Game 4 of the 1946 World Series against the Red Sox and 17 in Game 7 of the 1934 World Series.
  • With his ninth LCS home run, Albert Pujols is now tied with George Brett and Bernie Williams for the second-most in baseball history. Manny Ramirez holds the record with 13 LCS home runs. Pujols now has 14 career postseason home runs, tied with David Justice for eighth most in history.
  • Fielder's homer in Game 2 gave him four postseason home runs -- the most by any Brewer. Ted Simmons and Paul Molitor each hit three.
  • Former Cardinal and Brewer (and Royal and Red Sox and Diamondback and Pirate) Jeff Suppan will throw out the first pitch in Game 3 at Busch Stadium.
  • This series has been rain-free -- so far. Rain is predicted for gametime on Wednesday.
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Posted on: October 11, 2011 2:20 am
 

Overheard: NLCS Game 2

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans

MILWAUKEE -- For the first time since Nyjer Morgan called Albert Pujols "Alberta" in a tweet, the two men were side-by-side on the baseball field on Monday. When Morgan walked in the seventh inning, he didn't have anything to say to Pujols.

"You see my lips flapping?" Morgan said when asked about it after the Brewers' 12-3 loss in Game 2 of the NLCS. "It's the wrong time, you can't say nothing there."

The Brewers trailed 11-2 when the two finally got side-by-side, and Morgan said he was in no position to say anything to the Cardinals slugger, who had already driven in five Cardinals runs by that point.

NLCS

"Wrong time, you can't do it then," Morgan said.

Is that time coming?

"Maybe," Morgan said. "Stay tuned."

As for that tweet, Morgan said it's not something he regrets.

"That's just part of it, I said what I said, let's move on," Morgan said. "If they have to take some justice out of it, so be it?"

• Morgan's tweet was after he and Chris Carpenter got into a verbal altercation on the field. I asked him if he was looking forward to facing Carpenter in Game 3: "I'm looking forward to anybody -- what are you trying to stir up?"

• With the series tied at one game each and three more games coming up in St. Louis, Monday may have been Prince Fielder's last game at Miller Park in a Brewer uniform. I asked him if he'd given any thought to that: "No," he said.

Rickie Weeks on the bad call by first base umpire Sam Holbrook in the fifth inning that cost the Brewers at least a run: "You can't look at one call in baseball. It's one of those things. You might think the game went one play right there, but that's baseball. You can't worry about it," Weeks said. "That's just me. I thought I was safe, he called me out. He made the call. You can't go back and change it."

• Fielder on Weeks, who is playing on a bum ankle: "He's doing it right now on that ankle, it's impressive. We see it. He's tough. What he's doing, you couldn't ask anyone to do that, but he's doing it for the team and it's really awesome."

• Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina on picking up Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy's mask on a play at the plate in the fifth inning: "I was trying to take the mask. I don't want anybody to get hurt."

• Morgan on the Cardinals 12 runs and 17 hits: "That's all right. I think maybe they hit themselves out of the ballpark right there, they should have saved some of those."

• Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on his team's streak of winning the final game of a series, as Monday marked the 14th time in a row the Cardinals have boarded a plane as a winner: "It's kind of a neat reminder, let's finish off whatever it is, whether we're finishing off a game at home or on the road. We've won games on days we weren't traveling, either. But it's just -- you've got these grown men and they're like -- I don't think fraternity, they're too old… they're like summer campers or teenagers or maybe preteens -- they're just like kids. And it's enjoyable to listed to 'happy flight' things. Our fans were yelling when we got in the dugout, 'have a happy flight.' It's silly, but why not?"

• Jerry Hairston Jr. on Pujols: "He's pretty good, isn't he? He's arguably the best player of our generation. He's really good. It's one of those things, give him credit -- and not just Albert, but all the guys swung the bat well."

• Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse on Pujols' performance: ""hat's him, man. It's not surprising, know what I mean? It's amazing, but it's not surprising. He does the things he does. People ask me in the off-season, 'What's it like to play with him?' When he goes 1 for 3, it's like, 'Why didn't he get two more hits?'"

• Brewers manager Ron Roenicke on whether Shaun Marcum would pitch again in this series: "As far as I'm concerned, right now he's pitching again."

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Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:33 am
Edited on: October 11, 2011 1:41 am
 

Cardinals do the celebrating in Game 2

Yadier Molina

By C. Trent Rosecrans

MILWAUKEE -- If you listen to the participants, the Cardinals openly mocking the Brewers and their celebrations --  just like the pre-series hostilities -- didn't happen, and is but a creation of the media. Yeah right.

The Cardinals usually play the businesslike, button-down style that's preached by manager Tony La Russa, who loves to quote the unwritten rules of baseball conduct and pass down judgements on anyone who dares do anything he sees as a transgression. The reason there was so much pre-series focus on the Brewers' over-the-top celebrations and exuberance was the dichotomy between that and how St. Louis has liked to portray itself during La Russa's long tenure. It's baseball city, with baseball played with class and all that other jargon. But it wasn't like that in Monday's Game 2 12-3 mauling of the Brewers at Miller Park.

NLCS

From Albert Pujols' long stare and bat flip in the first inning (which, to be fair is far from out of the ordinary), to Yadier Molina's apparent "cry baby" motions after his seventh-inning single, the Cardinals bench ate it up and responded in kind. Was it a message?

"No, we were just having fun," Molina said. "It was nothing special. It's something personal."

Personal? Toward the Brewers, he was asked?

"No, no, no," Molina said. "We're trying to win games."

Prince Fielder, who brought the team "best mode" via his kids, and Nyjer Morgan, the team's chief instigator, both denied take offense or even noticing the Cardinals' Game 2 actions.

"No, man. No man, Nah. No," said Morgan, who like Molina seem to protest a little too much. "I guess they've got some emotion now, so be it. What do you want me to say?"

Said Fielder: "No. I really don't care, I'm trying to celebrate with my team. I would hope they're excited, it's the playoffs. I don't try to look into all that, I just try to play these games and as a team do what we do."

The Brewers may not have invented the call-and-response from the basepaths to the dugout, they've certainly embraced it -- doing their "beast mode" after every double or dribbler, every bunt or bomb. It clearly caught the attention of the Cardinals, especially in Game 1 when Ryan Braun and Fielder both hit impressive homers that fired up teammates and fans alike.

There's no doubt it can rankle other teams, rubbing those who take "acting like you've been there before" or the baseball codes or whatever very seriously (and of course, nobody does that more than the Cardinals). But to deny it, well, that's just telling us the sky is green or that Milwaukee's Best is really that or that when the offseason comes around, these two teams are going to get together in a nice drum circle and talk about the good times past. No, these teams don't like each other, and even a couple of denials can do nothing to camouflage that.

There was joy in the Cardinals actions, no doubt. It was actually refreshing to see it for once, to break that stoic facade. But make no mistake, there was also rancor and spite. No matter what anyone said. But hey, that -- plus some pretty good baseball -- keeps this series interesting, all the way to the end.

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