Saturday, August 20, 2011

I was starting to think that we'd win them all

Coming off a sweep of the Pirates over the weekend, the Brewers finished up their latest homestand with a four-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers. I have to admit, after so much good fortune lately, I've sort of been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Not drop off a cliff drop but drop a few games drop. But it didn't happen in this series.

On Monday, the seldom seen "awesome defense" version of the 2011 Brewers appeared on the field to lead Milwaukee to a 3-0 victory. Apparently, that's how you win when you're being held in check by the opposing pitcher? I'm not sure. The awesome defense model makes infrequent appearances at Miller Park. Ted Lilly gave up only two hits and two walks over seven innings for the Dodgers, while Randy Wolf struggled a bit, giving up six hits and five walks. But the Brewers didn't let not getting on base stop them. That was for the Dodgers to do. Milwaukee turned four double plays and one triple play, getting two of those outs at home plate to preserve the shutout. Offensively, Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Corey Hart hit solo shots.

On Tuesday, the much more prevalent "one-run victory in our last at-bat" version of the 2011 Brewers appeared. Both the Dodgers and Brewers scored one run in the second inning and then the starters went into shut down mode. Yovani Gallardo went eight innings, giving up only the one run on four hits and one walk. Chad Billingsley went seven innings giving up the one run on four hits and two walks. The game was won in the bottom of the ninth when Prince Fielder walked, Casey McGehee singled, Yuniesky Betancourt walked (walked!) and Mark Kotsay singled in Fielder. The Brewers fifth straight victory was a walk-off.

All season, Brewers fans have asked for the "2009 version of Zack Greinke." 2009 being, of course, Greinke's Cy Young award winning year. Zack's been in a little bit of a 2009 groove lately and on Wednesday night, he was 2009 good. Greinke gave up just one run on five hits and three walks. He struck out eight. The one run came on a home run off the bat of Tony Gwynn, Jr. Milwaukee scored two runs on a two-out single by Jerry Hairston, Jr. in the sixth inning and its final run when Lucroy singled and then moved all the way around the diamond on two wild pitches.

The Brewers came up just short of winning the rest of their games when they finally dropped a game on Thursday afternoon. On paper, it didn't look good. Clayton Kershaw leads the national league in wins (15) and strikeouts (199) and boasts a 2.60 ERA, 1.013 WHIP. Opposing him was Marco Estrada, who has filled in well for Chris Narveson, but is not a Cy Young candidate by any means. Kershaw lived up to his billing and was oh-so-tough to hit. The only Milwaukee run scored in the ninth inning when Braun tripled and Prince drove him home. Estrada, for his part, was nearly as tough, giving up only a home run to Rod Barajas (5 IP, 3H, 2 BB). Kam Loe and Tim Dillard had some problems in relief, however, each giving up two runs and the winning streak was halted at six.

No shoe dropping in this series. Maybe this version of the Brewers is pretty good.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 0
Game played 8-15-11

Brewers 2, Dodgers 1
Gamed played 8-16-11

Brewers 3, Dodgers 1
Game played 8-17-11

Dodgers 5, Brewers 1
Game played 8-18-11

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