Below is a breakdown of the Brewers-Diamondbacks first two games by “Bases Earned” and “Outs Made” for every hitter, pitcher, and for each team’s defense, with my analysis of the numbers following that.
For pitcher’s the “Bases” are 4 for home runs and 1 for a Walk or a Hit Batsmen, and “Outs Made” are strikeouts. Otherwise, “Bases Earned” equals (TBs + Walks + HBP+ Steals) and “Outs Made” (PAs-Hits-Walks-HBP-Sac Bunt + Caught Stealing).
Analysis: Braun and superb defense plus timely hitting
As you can see, Brewers LF Ryan Braun has been unconscious. He has 11 bases earned and he has made only 2 measly outs in two games. He is carrying the Crew with his wood. Another outstanding feature of the first game was Gallardo’s great pitching, and the Brewers incredible defense.
Another key has been timely hitting. The Brewers outscored the Dbacks in the two game set by 8 runs, but they only earned two more bases than Arizona (in fewer outs, though). So there was a bit of luck involved in the Brewers hold of serve.
Arizona is actually not hitting all that poorly. If you look at their lineup, only Montero and Overbay could be considered to be struggling. By contrast, the Brewers lineup features struggling hitters at the top 2 spots, underscoring the value of Braun and Fielder in the middle.
For Arizona, Hill has been superb (Grienke could not get him out), and so has Bloomquist. But clearly, Kirk Gibson made a mistake in platooning Lyle Overbay and Roberts. Roberts was mashing the ball on Sunday, and Overbay looked overmatched on Saturday.
As far as pitching goes, neither staff has distinguished itself. The Brewers Yovanni Gallardo was brilliant on Saturday, but I don’t know how smart it was to pitch Grienke on short rest on Sunday. He was horrible. He alone accounted for 31% of the bases earned by Arizona all weekend long. You don’t win many games where you yield three bombs to the opposition. Luckily, Grienke avoided the walks, but still.
The managerial move of the weekend goes to the Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, for his decision to bench the struggling 3b Casey McGehee and replace him with utility infielder Jerry “Happy” Hairston. Hairston rewarded Roenicke with 5 bases earned against only 4 outs made, and he provided a solid glove in the field. Bravo to Roenicke. That move may have made the Brewers weekend sweep possible.
As a result of that move, good defense, timely hitting and mostly the brilliance of the Hebrew Hammer, Ryan Braun, the Crew stands on the precipice of only the second League Championship Series in the team’s 42 seasons of existence (I’m counting Seattle). But that last game is always hard to get… so close… so tantalizingly close.
Rise of the Losing Franchises?
If the Brewers win, shall we dub this the “Autumn of the Sad Sack”? Two franchises who had basically given up on competing (remember Sal Bando’s infamous “How do we compete?” comments? They’re burned in my memory) — the Brewers and the Detroit Lions — are at or near the top of their sports.
It should be an inspirational tale. If the Brewers and Lions can, who among us cannot?
But there is still work to be done.