Tag:Brewers-Diamondbacks
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 11:01 am
 

Brewers, D-Backs find home is where the runs are

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In the National League divisional series between the Diamondbacks and Brewers, home is where the offense is, as the home team has outscored the visitors 31-12 in the first four games of the series, winning each game.

Forget the starting pitchers, geography could be the biggest factor in the deciding Friday's Game 5 and which team moves on to the NLDS. Not only have the two teams held serve at home through the first four games, but their offenses have responded to home cooking.

The sample sizes are small, but the difference in offense between the home and road teams in this series is glaring, and also in line with the teams' regular-season performances.

So far in the NLDS, Arizona is hitting .343/.410/.586 at home and .212/.278/.424 on the road. During the season, Arizona's splits were .262/.337/.444 at Chase Field and and .239/.308/.383 away from home. The Diamondbacks scored 400 runs at Chase FIeld and 331 away from it during the season.

Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero was hitless in the first two games in Milwaukee, but then went 5 for 8 in Games 3 and 4. During the season, Montero was actually better away from home, hitting .291/.363/.482 with 10 of his homers away from Chase Field and .273/.339/.455 at home.

The Brewers are also continuing their trend of struggles away from Miller Park. Milwaukee hit .313/.356/.522 in the first two games at Miller Park and .215/.278/.369 at Chase Field. During the regular season, the Brewers -- owners of baseball's best home record -- scored 389 runs at home with a .277/.344/.461 slash line and scored 332 runs while hitting .246/.307/.391 away from home.

The Brewers' three All-Star starters -- Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks -- have gone a combined 10-22 at home and 3-23 at Chase Field. For the season, the trio has hit .326/.421/.612 at Miller Park and .281/.362/.494 on the road.

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Brewers-Diamondbacks series | 2011 playoffs

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 2:32 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 3:05 am
 

Gibson's move, Roenicke's non-move prove big



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Kirk Gibson had a quick hook -- and Ron Roenicke's was too slow. Because of that, the Diamondbacks and Brewers are headed back to Milwaukee for a Game 5 on Friday.

Both managers had pivotal decisions to make in the third inning in Wednesday's Game 4 of the National League division series -- usually much too early for managerial tinkering but with the season on the line, it's never too early to make a bold decision. And that's exactly what Gibson did.

MIL-ARI NLDS Game 4

Even with a 5-3 lead, Gibson gambled that the Brewers high-powered offense could score more runs and every run the Diamondbacks added would be vital to victory. So, with two outs and runners on second and third, Gibson sent pinch hitter Collin Cowgil to hit for starter Joe Saunders.

Meanwhile, Roenicke kept his struggling starter, Randy Wolf, in the game.

"There's been a lot of outings this year he's first inning scuffled and then turned it around and really got us to the sixth seventh inning," Roenicke said in the postgame news conference. "That's what we were hoping to do."

Saunders gave up runs in each of the first three innings, but actually got out of a deep hole in the top of the third, getting out of a two-on, no-out jam with just one run surrendered. After walking Ryan Braun, Saunders got Prince Fielder to fly out to center, Rickie Weeks to fly out to right and Yuniesky Betancourt to pop up to second. It seemed he'd found himself and was starting to find the strike zone. Saunders had a 5.18 ERA in the first inning this season and a 2.99 ERA in innings 4-6.

However, with a chance to put more runs on the board, Gibson gambled by going with the pinch-hitter and leaving the final six innings up to his bullpen.

Cowgill, a .239 hitter in his rookie season, came through with a single to score two runs and increase the Arizona lead. Wolf got Willie Bloomquist to fly out to end the inning, but that would be the end of his night -- a batter too early.

Wolf was the third batter scheduled to bat in the top of the fourth, so perhaps Roenicke didn't want to burn two relievers and a pinch-hitter in one move, but that would have been a small price to pay to avoid a four-run deficit.

After Micah Owings gave the Diamondbacks two scoreless innings, rookie Jarrod Parker -- in just his second big-league appearance -- struggled, loading the bases, but once again Gibson knew when to head to the mound in time to limit damage, as Bryan Shaw came in to save the day, surrendering just one run and keeping the Diamondbacks on top. 

Gibson was roundly criticized early in this series, but Wednesday he made all the right moves and there's a Game 5 on Friday because of them.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 2:25 am
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Posted on: October 6, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 1:26 am
 

Instant Reaction: Diamondbacks force Game 5

Ryan Roberts

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Hero: In such a jam-packed game, it's easy to overlook something that happened in the first inning, but from the moment the ball left Ryan Roberts' bat with two outs in the first inning, the Brewers were playing catchup. It was Roberts' only hit of the night, but when you can drive in four runs with one hit -- especially in the first -- you've had a pretty good night.

MIL-ARI NLDS Game 4

Goat: Brewers starter Randy Wolf not only gave up Reynolds' grand slam in the first, he also gave up a homer to Chris Young right after Reynolds' blast. Wolf's offense kept him in the game, scoring runs in the second and third to make it 5-3, but then the Brewers left-hander gave up a two-out single to pinch-hitter Collin Cowgill in the third to return Arizona's lead to four. Wolf's final line: three innings, eight hits, seven earned runs, three walks, two strikeouts and two homers. 

Turning point: In the first inning of Game 1, Arizona third base coach Matt Williams sent Willie Bloomquist on a single to the outfield and the Diamondback shortstop was thrown out at the plate, killing the Diamondbacks' momentum and their only real shot at Yovani Gallardo. On Wednesday, Williams threw up the stop sign for Bloomquist on a single to right by Miguel Montero. Two batters later, the conservative call paid off as Roberts blasted the grand slam.

It was over when … It seems odd for a scoring play for the losing team to occupy this spot, but when Corey Hart's drive in the sixth inning stayed in the park, it seemed like some air was let out of the Brewers' balloon. Hart's drive to left-center was corralled by Gerardo Parra, allowing Yuniesky Betancourt to score, making it 7-4. But a single run was a disappointment after Hart crushed Bryan Shaw's pitch. Jerry Hairston Jr. followed with a fielder's choice to end the inning with two on and Ryan Braun in the on-deck circle.

Next: Just like the other NLDS matchup, this one's going the distance, and Arizona's Cy Young candidate, Ian Kennedy, will get another shot at the Brewers and Gallardo. Gallardo was dominant in a 4-1 Game 1 victory in Milwaukee. Gallardo allowed just four hits and struck out nine Diamondback batters in the win, while Kennedy gave up four runs on eight hits.

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:28 pm
 

This time Roberts slams Brewers

Ryan Roberts

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It seemed like the perfect opportunity -- the Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt up with the bases loaded once again. He couldn't come through -- but Ryan Roberts did.

For the fourth straight game at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks hit a grand slam, and for the second time in those four games it was Roberts, giving the Arizona a 4-1 lead in the first-inning. Chris Young followed with a solo homer to give Arizona a 5-1 lead after one.

That's a pretty good sign for the Diamondbacks, who were 83-8 this season when leading by two or more runs.

The Diamondbacks became just the fifth team in Major League history to hit two grand slams in one playoff series and the first since the 1977 Dodgers to do it in back-to-back games.

On Wednesday, Arizona's Willie Bloomquist singled to start the inning before Aaron Hill popped up, Justin Upton walked and Miguel Montero singled. However, unlike Game 1 when the Diamondbacks were aggressive in sending Bloomquist to the plate, third base coach Matt Williams held him up to leave the bases loaded with one out and Goldschmidt, the hero of Game 3, came to the plate.

Goldschmidt was starting at first in the place of Lyle Overbay despite hitting just .162/.279/.378 against lefties. But he was coming off a good game and manager Kirk Gibson put him in the lineup against Randy Wolf. It was the perfect setup to the perfect story, except he looked at a 1-2 pitch low and inside that home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman called for the third strike.

Wolf got no such help from Dreckman or anyone else when he tried to throw a 2-1 changeup past Reynolds, who hit it just to the fair side of the left-field foul pole for the Diamondbacks' fourth grand slam in as many home games. Roberts also hit the walk-off grand slam on the penultimate day of the season.

The Diamondbacks had six grand slams during the season, including one in each of the last two games of the season. But it's not just home runs when the Diamondbacks have the bases loaded, as a team Arizona hit .387/.421/.649 with bases loaded during the regular season.

Follow all the action live on CBSSports.com's GameTracker 

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Arizona brings out the best in pitcher behavior

By Matt Snyder

If you watched Game 3 of the Brewers-Diamondbacks NLDS last night, you saw rookie first baseman Paul Goldschmidt hit a grand slam. And you also saw Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum throw his mitt straight up in the air. Here you go:

Marcum glove flip a reminder of Lilly’s glove slam at Arizona

Being a Cubs fan, this definitely reminded me of something. Game 2 of the NLDS in 2007 between the Cubs and Diamondbacks. Ted Lilly slammed his mitt to ground in anger after allowing a three-run homer to Chris Young. See below:

Marcum glove flip a reminder of Lilly’s glove slam at Arizona

Must be that dry desert heat -- even with the roof closed? -- that brings out the humorous in pitchers' emotions in the NLDS at Chase Field. Randy Wolf takes the hill for the Brewers Wednesday night, so stay tuned.

Hat-tip: Big League Stew

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 5:37 pm
 

NLDS Game 4: D-Back fever, catch it. Please



By C. Trent Rosecrans

You'd think Tuesday's thrilling victory over the Brewers in Game 3 of the National League division series would be all the advertising the Diamondbacks would need to sell tickets to Wednesday's Game 4. You'd be wrong.

As late as Wednesday afternoon, the Diamondbacks official Twitter feed said there were "good seats still available" for Game 4.

Despite the team's surprising run to the National League West title, Arizona was still 18th in overall attendance on the season, averaging 25,992 per game -- up from 25,394 in 2010. Among playoff teams, only the Rays had a lower attendance. The Rays drew 18,878 per game, more than only the A's.

The Diamondbacks played before an average capacity of 53.4 percent, the seventh lowest in baseball. No playoff team had a worse percentage. Tampa Bay played in front of an average of 55.4 percent full crowds at Tropicana Field.

Game 4: Diamondbacks at Brewers, 9:37 p.m. ET, Chase Field, TBS

Brewers Diamondbacks
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Corey Hart RF 1 Willie Bloomquist SS
2 Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B 2 Aaron Hill 2B
3 Ryan Braun LF 3 Justin Upton RF
4 Prince Fielder 1B 4 Miguel Montero C
5 Rickie Weeks 2B 5 Paul Goldschmidt 1B
6 Yuniesky Betancourt SS 6 Chris Young CF
7 Carlos Gomez SS 7 Ryan Roberts 3B
8 George Kottaras C 8 Gerardo Parra LF
9 Shaun Marcum RHP 9 Joe Saunders LHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Wolf vs. Diamondbacks: The left-hander has had trouble against Arizona this season, losing both his starts and putting up a 6.08 ERA in 13 1/3 innings pitched. On July 5 he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in six innings of a Brewers loss at Miller Park, while he was better on July 18, allowing just two earned runs (three total) on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings at Chase Field. Justin Upton is just 5 for 20 (.250) against Wolf, but two of those five hits are homers. Lyle Overbay, Parra, Roberts and Young also have homers against Wolf.

Saunders vs. Brewers: Saunders earned a no-decision in the Diamondbacks' loss to the Brewers on July 20, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. He's 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two career starts against Milwaukee. Braun is 2 for 6 in his career against Saunders with two homers. Prince Fielder is hitless in six plate appearances against Saunders, striking out three times and walking once.

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • The roof will be closed for Game 4 at Chase Field.
  • Saunders injured his left hand in batting practice earlier in the series.
  • Goldschmidt gets his third consecutive start over Overbay. Goldschmidt has struggled against left handers this season, hitting just .162/.279/.378 with two homers in 43 plate appearances. Overbay was 3 for 8 with a double and a homer against Wolf in his career, but had four strikeouts.
  • Gomez and Kottaras are making their first starts of the series. Kottaras has an RBI double and a walk in his only two plate appearances against Saunders. Gomez is 4 for 13 with a double and triple against the Diamondbacks starter.
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Posted on: October 5, 2011 2:40 am
 

Intentional walk backfires for Brewers

Miguel Montero

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke doesn't like the intentional walk. He may like it even less after Tuesday.

Roenicke decided to walk Miguel Montero to load the bases in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the National League division series. It made sense at the time, there were runners on second and third and two outs. Montero had already driven in a pair of runs with a first-inning double and a third-inning single.

Arizona-Milwaukee NLDS

Montero was locked in and on deck was Paul Goldschmidt, a rookie that had singled in the first and flew out in the third. Roenicke's pitcher, Shaun Marcum, was much more successful against right-handed batters this season, holding right-handers to just a .195/.243/.323 line. It made total sense.

"Montero scares me," Roenicke said in the postgame news conference. "I thought it was the right move. I still do. But do I like doing it? No."

Marcum? "Not my call," he told reporters.

When Paul Goldschmidt swings, there's little doubt as to what he's trying to do.

The Diamondbacks rookie first baseman has succeeded throughout most of his  pro career. In the short-season Pioneer League after being drafted, Goldschmidt hit 18 homers in 74 games, last year in the hitter-friendly California League he hit 35 in 138 games and then this year he had 30 in 103 games at Double-A before being called up to the big leagues. In his second game, he took Tim Lincecum deep for his first big-league homer. He added another homer off of Cliff Lee and got Lincecum again for good measure. In all, he hit eight homers in 156 at-bats during the regular season. After sitting in Game 1 of the NLDS, Goldschmidt was in the lineup in Game 2 and repaid his manager by taking Zack Greinke deep.

Still, Montero was the man Roenicke feared. Montero was held hitless in the first two games, but responded in Game 3 with two hits early. Montero hit .282/.351/.469 this season and hit 17 of his 18 homers off of right-handers. 

So Roenicke issued the free pass to Montero, loading the bases. Kirk Gibson said he regretted pitching to Prince Fielder earlier in the series, but Gibson likes the intentional walk no more than Roenicke. The Brewers and the Diamondbacks tied for the least amount of intentional passes on the season, both only walking 16 batters on purpose in the regular season.

That's why actually pulling the trigger on the four wide pitches has to hurt -- and having the gun backfire hurts even more.

Marcum's 1-2 fastball stayed over the heart of the plate and Goldschmidt took it the other way for the grand slam.

"He threw a fastball; I'm sure he missed his spot," Goldschmidt told TBS after the game. "I don't now if he was trying to go in or out, but it ended up pretty much down the middle. And I was lucky I was able to get enough of it and hit a homer."

That was more or less the game, decided by a rookie -- and the decision of the manager to face the rookie.

"That's the dilemma a manager has, and you guys that have been with me know that I don't like walking people," Roenicke said after the game. "And there we go again."

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