I calculated the Cricket Averages (what is that?) for every batsmen and pitcher and for the Brewers team defense in the postseason and compared it to the same averages during the Regular Season to assess the blame for the Brewers disappointing failure to advance to their second World Series (Remember, the Cricket Average for Pitchers is made up of only the bases and outs they themselves control, meaning home runs, walks, and strikeouts).
Starting Pitching, plain and simple
Yes, the Brewers defense was off a bit (especially considering the blunders in the final two games). And yes, Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart and Nyjer Morgan grossly underperformed during the postseason. But, by and large, those areas evened themselves out. The defense was actually up to snuff for most of the postseason, and the poor Brewer hitters were generally picked up by their mates.
No, the main culprit for the Brewers disappointing ending was the complete collapse of their starting pitching. It was abysmal throughout the postseason. Not one of the Brewers five starting pitchers performed as well during the postseason as he had done during the regular season, and most of them were well off their season Cricket Averages.
Obviously, Shaun Marcum was an unmitigated disaster. As soon as I saw that the umpire would not allow him to nibble on the corners early in Game Six, I knew it would be an early shower for the Brewers postseason goat. He cannot pitch over the plate against a team like the Cardinals and get away with it. I was texting madly “Get him out now!!” Sure enough, next batter was Freese, he elevated a room service fastball for him and then twisted his neck and watched it leave the park. Predictable.
All I could think was, we traded Brett Lawrie for this? The Brewers might regret that trade just as much if not more than the Nelson Cruz fiasco. (Remember, Milwaukee gave up American League hitting star Nelson Cruz for next to nothing a few seasons ago at the trade deadline… a move I vehemently protested on my old blog “Four Blocks to Miller Park”, and continue to argue against to this day. Could you imagine Cruz in the Brewers lineup?)
None of the starters was any good, even Randy Wolf and Yovanni Gallardo. Wolf got lucky in Game 4 because he had a stout defense behind him. But he couldn’t keep the Cardinals in the park that game either. He allowed two home runs. (the thing he did well was not allowing Cardinal walks).
On the other hand, the defense and the bats performed just about to their regular season level. Ryan Braun, Happy Hairston, and Yuni Bettancourt were all phenomenal. Braun tailed off, but that had to be expected. Prince Fielder’s batting average wasn’t that good, but he still got about the same number of bases per out made as he was getting during the regular season.
So, to reiterate, it was the starting pitching. What to do about it? I do not know. That is for the offseason. Let the pain subside first.