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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Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:38 am

Instant Reaction: Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 1

Paul Goldschmidt

By C. Trent Rosecrans

WP: Josh Collmenter

LP: Shaun Marcum

HR: ARI -- Paul Goldschmidt; MIL -- Corey Hart

Series: Brewers lead 2 games to 1

Hero: Who else but Goldschmidt? The rookie first baseman went 2 for 4 and knocked in five runs, including his grand slam. Goldschmidt homered in Game 1, as well.

Goat: Marcum will have trouble sleeping not only because of the pitches he made, but also the play he didn't. Marcum's final line was 4 2/3 innings pitched, seven hits, seven runs, three walks and three stikeouts. Oh, and one pretty big home run.

Next: LHP Randy Wolf (13-10, 3.69) vs. LHP Joe Saunders (12-12, 3.69). Wednesday, 9:37 p.m. ET, Chase Field

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

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Posted on: October 4, 2011 11:42 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 2:38 am

Marcum's missed play leads to slam

Shaun Marcum

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sean Marcum tossed his glove in the air as soon as Paul Goldschmidt made contact for his grand slam in the fifth inning, but possibly as much as the 1-2 fastball he served up to the Diamondbacks rookie, Marcum was upset at himself for being in that situation.

More D-Backs, Brewers

The right-hander has a reputation as one of the best fielding pitchers in the game, and had he been able to field Justin Upton's one-out comebacker cleanly, Goldschmidt would have never had the chance to give Arizona a 7-1 lead in the fifth inning.

With runners on first and second and one out, Marcum got Upton to ground the ball back to him, but the ball bounced off Marcum's glove and between his legs. He managed to recover in time to get one out, but he missed his chance at an inning-ending double play. 

Ron Roenicke then elected to intentionally walk Miguel Montero, who already had two hits on the night, to get to the rookie first baseman. Marcum made a mistake to Goldschmidt -- but it never would have happened had he made the previous play. Instead of Marcum heading to the dugout trying to keep his team close, he was lifted from the game as the Diamondbacks added another run in the inning, and probably another game to the series.

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Posted on: October 4, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 10:50 pm

Cardinals need Holliday's bat back in lineup

Allen CraigBy C. Trent Rosecrans

If there was a good sign for the Cardinals in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Phillies in Game 3 of the National League division series, it came in the eighth inning when Matt Holliday sent a Brad Lidge slider into left field for a single.

It was just Holliday's second at-bat of the postseason, striking out as a pinch hitter in Game 1. Holliday has been dealing with a strained tendon in his right hand and unable to play in the field. However, before Tuesday's game, manager Tony La Russa said Holliday had improved and also said his outfielder had gotten a cortisone shot, something he had been avoiding up until this point.

The Cardinals could certainly use Holliday's bat in the lineup, as Lance Berkman is just 2 for 12 so far this postseason batting in Holliday's fourth spot. With Albert Pujols doubling three times ahead of Berkman, he had plenty of opportunities to drive in a run, but failed each time, leaving a total of five men on base. The Cardinals left 14 on base as a team. Not including Pujols, who had four hits, the top third of the Cardinals lineup went 3 for 27 against the Phillies on Tuesday.

Philadelphia-St. Louis NLDS

For the first time in the series, Berkman moved back to right field with Allen Craig starting in left. Craig started the first two games in right with Berkman in left. With Holliday out of the lineup, Craig has hit second and gone just 1 for 10 so far.

The question may be whether Holliday can play the field for an entire game. In the last game he started, on Sept. 27 in Houston, Holliday left the game in the third inning not because of his inability to swing the bat, but his inability to grip the ball on throws.

There's also the question of whether he can handle an inside fastball. In Tuesday's game, he only saw two sliders from Lidge, not anything hard. The Cardinals are a better team with Holliday in the game, but we'll see if Tuesday was the start of a great comeback story or just a cameo.

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Posted on: October 4, 2011 8:22 pm

Brewers fan calls 911 about missing remote

By Matt Snyder

We've all been there. You can't for the life of you find your remote control just as a big game is about to start. So what do you do? Well, first you manually go up to your receiver and get to the channel you want, then you start tearing your living room apart to find the control. Of, if you have a five-year-old son who thinks it's hilarious to hide the remote, you lay down the law. Even better, if you're a 97-year-old Brewers fan, you call 911 and report that someone has stolen your remote.

According to a police report, that's exactly what happened on Sept. 26 (WestAllisNow.com). There's a happy ending, though, because the remote control was found after police responded -- so it sounds like the officer helped him find it -- and he was able to see his beloved Brewers play that night.

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Posted on: October 4, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 10:08 pm

Early story: Garcia efficient, Hamels not

By Matt Snyder

Phillies starter Cole Hamels and Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia are both putting up zeroes in the inning columns of the scoreboard Tuesday, but one of them is easily having the better outing.

Hamels has been good, having thrown four shutout innings to this point, but the Cardinals are making him work. Through four innings, Hamels has thrown 77 pitches. His season high is 126, but he hasn't thrown more than 100 in a game since September 13, when he threw exactly 100. One would figure he could handle upwards of 115, but after that all bets are off. So the Phillies bullpen will certainly be needed. Maybe even as soon as the seventh inning, which is early for a guy throwing a shutout.

On the other hand, if things continue on this path, the Cardinals relievers could just take a nap in the bullpen. Garcia has only thrown 51 pitches through five innings, putting him on pace to throw a complete game with only 92 pitches. Four of his five innings he's set down the Phillies in order, 1-2-3, so he's in an absolute groove.

But we're only halfway through the game, so things could change in an instant.

Follow along live on CBSSports.com's GameTracker

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Phillies-Cardinals series | 2011 playoffs

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Posted on: October 4, 2011 6:21 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 6:27 pm

NLDS Game 3 Preview: Brewers looking to sweep

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Diamondbacks at Brewers, 9:37 p.m. ET, Chase Field, TNT

Brewers Diamondbacks
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Corey Hart RF 1 Willie Bloomquist SS
2 Nyjer Morgan CF 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 Jerry Hairston Jr 3B 6 Chris Young CF
7 Yuniesky Betancourt SS 7 Ryan Roberts 3B
8 Jonathan Lucroy C 8 Gerardo Parra LF
9 Shaun Marcum RHP 9 Josh Collmenter RHP


Marcum vs. Diamondbacks: Marcum earned a no decision in his only start against the Diamondbacks this season, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings. Every Brewer that has faced Marcum has managed a hit against him, but only Upton has more than one (2 for 6). Montero's lone hit in three at-bats against Marcum was for a homer.

Collmenter vs. Brewers: Collmenter was moved up in the rotation in part because of his success against the Brewers. In two starts against Milwaukee this season, the Brewers haven't scored on him in 14 innings. Collmenter started in back-to-back starts around the All-Star break, getting a no-decision after six innings of three-hit ball on July 6 in Milwaukee and picking up the win after allowing just three hits in eight innings at Chase Field on July 18. On the Brewers, only Fielder (2 for 5), Morgan (2 for 6) and Betancourt (1 for 3) have hits off Collmenter. All the Brewers hits off Collmenter have been singles. 


Full Playoff Coverage
  • The Diamondbacks had hoped to have the roof open at Chase Field for Game 3, but there was a dust storm before the game that caused the team to close the roof. A final decision will be made later.
  • Left-hander Joe Saunders was the original scheduled starter for Tuesday's game, but an injury to his hand in batting practice earlier int he season pushed him back to Game 4.
  • While Milwaukee struggled on the road this season (32-42), the team split its four games at Chase Field.
  • Milwaukee is looking to win its first postseason series since the 1982 ALCS.
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Posted on: October 4, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 6:41 pm

La Russa fined for criticizing strike zone

By Matt Snyder

During the broadcast of Sunday night's NLDS Game 2 between the Phillies and the Cardinals, St. Louis manager Tony La Russa noted that the two teams were working with different strike zones, insinuating that Chris Carpenter was being squeezed while Cliff Lee was given a favorable zone. At the time, the Cardinals trailed 4-0, though they would eventually win the game, 5-4.

Philadelphia-St. Louis NLDS
La Russa also said he would likely get "in trouble" for making the statement. He was correct. He has been fined by an undisclosed amount by the commisssioner's office for the derogatory remarks about home plate umpire Jerry Meals. The amount isn't huge, though, as it's reportedly only "four figures" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

La Russa's no stranger to confronting umpires about strike zones. He's notorious for working on the home-plate ump and standing up for his pitchers. Back in the 2005 playoffs, he even complained about the strike zone Astros starter Roger Clemens was going to get before the game even started.

If the report on the fine is true, it's kind of a head-scratcher. There's no way a small fine like that would deter La Russa from making future comments, so what's the point?

Oh, and Tuesday marks La Russa's 66th birthday. Happy birthday, Tony, from Bud Selig. Now don't you dare complain about bad strike zones Tuesday night, lest you be slapped on the wrist again.

UPDATE: When asked if he needed to "get anything off his chest" during Tuesday evening's broadcast, La Russa said "my jaws are wired shut."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com