My friend Chris is a huge Yankees fan. (He grew up in New York.) He's also one of the most knowledgeable baseball people that I know. Sometimes when we go over to his house for dinner, he'll insist that we play a game where he names two teams and you have to name every player you can think of that played for both. (He usually does this with the baseball almanac on his lap to settle any disputes.) A few weeks ago in our softball game, when I was up to bat and the opposing pitcher was also sporting a Brewers cap, he yelled, "Wow. It's like Teddy Higuera against Bill Spiers." That's not a statement too many people would think to make.
He has also made the following two comments this year:
1) While we stood in line at Chipotle, he asked me if this was the year the Yankees got the NL Central in interleague. When I responded in the affirmative, he said simply, "YES!" and did a little fist pump.
2) While discussing the Brewers chances of making the playoffs he said that as long as the Brewers were at about .500 by All-Star break they'd have a great chance of winning the division. Then, just for fun, he threw in, "well, the NL Central is a joke this year." To which I may have gone to the high voice and started yelling, "WHAT? Why would you say that it's a joke." Sensing that I may completely melt down in his living room, he let it go.
So, coming into the series with the Yankees, I wanted to prove that the Brewers were not a joke. I wanted to be competitive and at least win one game. For obvious reasons, I wanted to prove that the team that I love and devote so much time to may not be the Yankees but were certainly worthy of my love.
It didn't happen.
The Brewers looked sloppy and ill-prepared in Tuesday night's game. Zack Greinke got off to a tough start when Nyjer Morgan mis-judged a fly ball and in twisting to get back into position slipped and fell down. It one hopped his glove as he lay helpless on the ground. Helpless. The Yankees got out to a 7-0 lead after two innings and it just continued to get worse. The only good thing about this game was that Mat Gamel, brought up to DH in interleague play, went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Wednesday's game got off to a better start with the Brewers scoring one run in the first inning. (The bar was pretty low.) I'd like to take just a minute to discuss right field in Yankee Stadium. The way that it is configured, I don't know how anyone hits a double there. There is no doubt that Nick Swisher plays the ball well in the corner, but the Brewers probably hit six balls down the first base line that would have been doubles in any other ball park. Just sort of an odd thing about Yankee Stadium. Ryan Braun shot one down the right field line that scored Morgan from second base but he was held to a single, for example. One run probably isn't going to hold up in Yankee Stadium, and it didn't on Wednesday. The bottom of the Yankees line-up struck for four runs in the fourth and the Brewers never mounted a come back in a 2-5 loss.
In the afternoon finale, Milwaukee faced CC Sabathia. The most sickening thing about this game was how nice CC is about his time in Milwaukee. The Brewers offered Sabathia a great contract after the 2008 season but, just for fun, the Yankees offered $10 million more or something like that. I can't remember. Apparently CC loves Milwaukee, though, so I guess that's some sort of silver lining for the Midwest. He still shut out The Crew 0-5 and had 13 strikeouts. But I think that if I drink enough and re-play some games from the 2008 pennant chase I can probably get over it.
Unfortunately, I did not get to prove that the Brewers are not a joke. My ego's a bit bruised but I guess I'll feel better if the Brewers can beat the Twins this weekend. Hopefully the Brewers will meet the Yankees in the playoffs and, after defeating them, Milwaukee will talk about how they picked up their game after the sweep. Or something inspirational like that.
Yankees 12, Brewers 2
Game played 6-28-11
Yankees 5, Brewers 2
Game played 6-29-11
Yankees 5, Brewers 0
Game played 6-30-11