Zack Greinke’s first postseason start probably didn’t go the way he or the Brewers wanted it to, but, in the end, it didn’t matter.
The Brewers now have a 2-0 advantage over the Diamondbacks in the NLDS with a big win today, 9-4. As I said before, Greinke’s first career postseason start didn’t go well, as he allowed three home runs for the first time this season. But, thanks to a big sixth inning by the Brewers’ offense, they remain undefeated during Greinke’s starts at Miller Park.
Ryan Braun got the Brewers on the board early, crushing a two-run home run off D-backs starter Daniel Hudson. The Diamondbacks answered in the second inning, as Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo shot off Greinke in his first postseason at-bat. But, the Brewers extended their lead to 4-1 in the third inning, thanks to a RBI single by Prince Fielder, followed by a RBI triple by Rickie Weeks. Hopefully, that triple by Weeks is a sign that his ankle is getting closer to 100%.
The Diamondbacks got back in it in the fourth inning on a Chris Young homer, then, in the fifth, Justin Upton hit a game-tying two-run shot to knot the game at 4-4. That ended up being Greinke’s last inning.
But, this all set the stage for the Brewers’ giant sixth inning. After Hudson gave up a one-out double to Jerry Hairston Jr., he was removed from the game for righty-specialist Brad Ziegler. But Ziegler’s outing ended up being worse than Hudson’s. After he committed an apocalyptic act- walking Yuniesky Betancourt on four pitches- Jonathan Lucroy laid down a suicide squeeze. But, Ziegler got greedy and tried to throw home on the play, resulting in an error. So a run scored and there were guys on second and third. But it wouldn’t stop there. Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, and Braun hit consecutive RBI singles to make the game 9-4, where it would remain the rest of the game. Oh yeah, and after Ziegler’s appearance, his ERA this postseason is 108.00. That’s what four runs in one third of inning will give you.
Remember Lucroy’s bloop RBI single yesterday off of D-backs ace Ian Kennedy? Well, apparently Kennedy was questioned about why he didn’t intentionally walk Lucroy to get to Yovani Gallardo, the pitcher, batting behind Lucroy. But here’s what Kennedy said:
“Not at all. I made my pitch and he placed it just right. Had him 1-and-2, there’s no thought of a walk. There was a guy who can’t really hit, and Galardo can swing it a little bit, so there was no thought at all, for me at least.”
So, in other words, he said Lucroy “can’t really hit.” Maybe he doesn’t swing the bat great compared to Miguel Montero, Kennedy’s typical batterymate, but he was in no position to say he “can’t really hit.” But Kennedy made a couple of idiot decisions yesterday. Not only did he pitch to Lucroy, but he decided to pitch to Fielder with a base open and two outs, and it resulted in a two-run homer. I thought a guy with 21 wins would be smarter than that, but apparently not.
But I did notice that, after Lucroy ended up at second after his suicide squeeze, he did a more emphatic “beast mode” than he usually does. I also noticed him glaring at the Diamondbacks’ dugout for a few seconds. I wonder who on earth he could have been staring at?
The Brewers have a chance to clinch a NLCS appearance after an off-day tomorrow in Arizona. They’ll send their best starter on the road- Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA)- to the mound. Marcum was 8-3 with a 2.21 ERA on the road this season, which was by far the best out of any Brewers’ starter on the road. He’s 1-0 with a 5.73 ERA in his career against the Diamondbacks, but here’s a funny stat- he has a grand slam against them this year.
The Diamondbacks will counter with rookie Josh Collmenter (10-10, 3.38 ERA). Normally, I wouldn’t be too worried about a rookie starter, especially in the postseason, but there a three main reasons I am this time around. First off- you can see he’s been one of the better rookie pitchers this year, putting up a 3.38 ERA in 154 innings of work. Secondly, the Brewers have sucked against rookie pitching this year. They’ve allowed the second lowest rookie ERA in the National League this year. Lastly, Collmenter has two career starts against the Brewers this season, and hasn’t allowed a run in 14 innings of work. Hopefully, the Brewers have seen him enough to get something going against him, but it’s the Brewers. You never know with them and how much they let rookie pitchers tear through their lineup…