CARDINALS 4, Brewers 3: Plenty Of Blame Beyond Kotsay | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

In probably the most inexplicable decision of the Milwaukee Brewers season to date, Mark Kotsay received the start in center field in Wednesday’s Game Three of the NLCS. In related news, the Milwaukee Brewers lost Game Three of the NLCS.

Kotsay put together one of the most disastrous first innings possible — in the top of the frame, Kotsay drew a walk but was doubled off second base on a Prince Fielder fly ball to center field, and then in the bottom half, Kotsay’s defensive incompetence certainly resulted in one extra baserunner (Jon Jay) and arguably a second (Albert Pujols). Seeing as the Cardinals plated all four of their runs in the first inning and the Brewers squandered a first-and-second, one out chance largely due to Kotsay’s failures, Ron Roenicke’s decision likely will and definitely deserves a healthy amount of criticism. It was, simply put, the wrong choice — even with Nyjer Morgan’s struggles, there is little reason to believe Mark Kotsay will outhit him, and Carlos Gomez multiple orders of magnitude better on defense. Kotsay doesn’t offer enough over the other two options to warrant playing time.

But Kotsay isn’t fully to blame. He was on base three times, walking twice and hitting a home run to bring the Brewers within one in the third inning. He led the team in offensive Win Probability Added with a +.144 mark. The next closest? Yuniesky Betancourt, at +.035. Kotsay’s defensive blunders may have been worse than his offensive production was good, but his performance on the field was by no means crippling.

No, the Brewers were killed by an inability to hit Chris Carpenter, who had a decent night but clearly was not at the top of his game, and more shockingly, the front end of the Cardinals’ bullpen. Specifically Lance Lynn recorded four key outs, putting up a +.147 WPA, the second highest mark of any player in the game to Jason Motte’s +.182.

The big Brewers bats just weren’t able to produce when they were needed. Corey Hart ran his hitless streak to 10 at-bats, Prince Fielder was held in check all night, going 0-for-4. Ryan Braun was 1-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and Rickie Weeks was 1-for-4, starting the first rally of the game in the top of the second, but neither could produce in key situations late in the game.

After the first inning, Yovani Gallardo settled down and did his job, and the bullpen was excellent after a rough day on Monday. The hitters had more than enough chances to bring the game around, and they just didn’t. Ron Roenicke deserves blame for putting the Brewers in a bad situation with Kotsay in center field, but the hitters were given more than enough chances to dig their way out, and they just didn’t.

The Brewers still only need to win one of the next two games to set up a scenario in which two straight wins at Miller Park mean a World Series berth. All is not lost. But it is now an uphill climb for the Milwaukee Brewers. Thursday’s Game Four is not a must-win — a term thrown around incredibly loosely these days — but it is the closest thing to it. This time around, mistakes cannot be made. The best lineup must be on the field, and that lineup must capitalize when given the chance.

If not, Milwaukee’s backs will be squarely against the wall come the weekend.

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Cory says: October 13, 2011

    If Roenicke was so gung-ho on getting Kotsay in the game, he would have been better served in right field, not center. Kotsay is nowhere near a center fielder I also still want to know how a major leaguer gets doubled off 2nd base on a routine fly ball to center field?Ho looked, and was, foolish, and yes, despite the HR, he is largely responsible for this loss. I’m being perfectly honest here, with Yo temporarily out of the picture, I really don’t see us winning either of these next 2 games. We could have easily done what we did these last 2 games against Philly, and those losses would be much easier to swallow. I’m not looking forward to watching the Cardinals celebrate this series win. Prove me wrong Brewers! For game 4, I would strongly suggest starting Gomez & Morgan, and giving Hart at least 1 game off. He has been incredibly bad and extremely hard to watch, both offensively and defensively!

  2. Mike D. says: October 13, 2011

    Cribbed from the previous thread, after the game before this post went up:

    They needed to find a way to go all in for Game 2 some way or other. I don’t know what that might have meant, but it can’t have meant going with a spent Shaun Marcum and using the home field advantage as the thing that gave them hope that this would work out. As I say, that’s relying entirely on home field advantage, not using it as an actual advantage. Now they’re in a hole. I didn’t have a good feeling about putting such pressure on Gallardo to get a win in the very first game in St. Louis. Even leaving Game 2 aside, I think they should have written Game 3 off as an acclimation game for getting used to playing away in a hostile stadium chock full of fans rooting for the opponent in such a high-pressure, high-visibility, high-stakes atmosphere. This would have meant doing anything but using Gallardo tonight.

    I realize I’m coming off as a big second-guesser, but this was my thought process going back to before Game 2. Not to be a downer or a backseat manager, but I’m not sure what else there is to do when you’ve gone from up 1-0 to down 1-2. Root hard for Randy Wolf to get his location back, I guess.

  3. Mike says: October 13, 2011

    All is not lost people. We have the reliable Randy Wolf tonight and a razor sharp Zach Greinke coming up next. Who here is frightened about putting all of the Brewers eggs in the Wolf and Greinke basket? A basket made of barbed wire and bedded with jagged stones.

    Love your work Jack

  4. Mike D. says: October 13, 2011

    What to say? Randy Wolf FTW (literally). Roenicke looks great for having faith in him. You still gotta figure out how to be sure you get a win out of your ace’s appearances.

  5. Mike says: October 14, 2011

    I am sorry Mr Wolf for my comment at 10:48 on 10/13. You were brilliant against the redbirds.

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