This was Brewers baseball. This was how we all envisioned it when the season started. This is how all of the games were supposed to go.
Yovani Gallardo, the ace, continued to do it all, as he’s done his entire career. He went 7 innings and only allowed two runs (one earned) despite four walks. With the Brewers down 2-1 in the 7th, Gallardo, as he is wont to do, took matters into his own hands and slugged a home run to tie the game.
The bats awoke. This is what the Brewers bats do: they hit home runs. First, it was my boy George Kottaras following up Carlos Gomez’s RBI single with what has been described as a “420 foot broken bat homer” (we’ll get the HitTracker on that tomorrow, for sure). Then Prince Fielder homered, for his second in two games. Craig Counsell added an RBI single. The Brewers final line was 12/38, 6 walks, a double, and three home runs. It all added up to 7 runs, which should be more than enough.
Of course, we’ve been here many times before. The offense has now scored 268 runs in 53 games. That’s 5.06 runs per game. That’s incredible. Of course, they’ve allowed 305. That’s terrible. And much of it falls on the bullpen and its 6.30 ERA entering tonight’s game. The tension is palpable, whether its in a room of fans , at the stadium, or on twitter, when a reliever enters the game with any sort of lead. From Hoffman to Villanueva to Coffey to Hawkins to Suppan to… it seems like the only person we can trust right now is John Axford, and he hasn’t made it simple, allowing runs in each of his save opportunities, including tonight.
Today, though, it was relatively simple. The bullpen didn’t enter until the 8th. Villanueva got an out and was swiftly yanked for Axford to take on the 5 out save, which I think was a good call on Macha’s part. Axford allowed the inherited runner on third to score and then allowed a run on Hanley Ramirez’s double in the 9th, but by that time, the game was out of reach. Axford collected himself and recorded the final out of the game and received the save.
And it felt like a Milwaukee Brewers victory should. This is what this team was built to do. Outslug you, and pitch just well enough to beat you. Unfortunately, the “pitching just well enough” part just hasn’t been there. To me, this was a cruel reminder of what this season could – and should – have been. Instead, it’s June 2nd and the Brewers needed this win to pull even with the Pirates in the division, are currently 9 games under .500, and are 8.5 games back of both Cincinnati and St. Louis.
Oh well. At least we still get Yovani every fifth day.