Some things to read while checking the lost and found.
By now you've probably heard this: The Brewer season skidded to a halt last night with a 12-6 home loss to the Cardinals, who won the NLCS four games to two. Unfortunately, the series ended the way many of us feared and/or predicted it would: Shaun Marcum allowed four runs in the first inning and for the most part the rout was on from there. Ron Roenicke still insists he made the right decision by starting Marcum, but it's a decision he's going to spend the rest of his career defending. Craig Calcaterra is on his side. Michael Hunt of the JS says the blame for last night's loss should spread beyond Roenicke.
Marcum's outing yesterday was bad, but hardly unprecedented: ESPN reports that he's the sixth starter in the Wild Card era to pitch one inning or less as an NLCS starter. Rowland's Office would like to introduce him to Rick Camp, a pitcher who had a similar performance in Game 3 of the 1982 NLCS as the Cardinals beat the Braves to advance to the World Series.
At the end of the day, I feel bad for Marcum. He pitched poorly yesterday and throughout the postseason and that's what people will remember, but I feel like more blame belongs to a coaching staff that continued to send him out there long after it was clear that he was completely cashed in. If they had made an effort to keep him out of key situations this postseason, then he could've come to camp next spring refocused, reconditioned and ready to pitch longer and stronger in 2012. Instead, he's been saddled with the burden of being the worst performing pitcher in Brewer postseason history (0-3 with a 14.90 ERA in 9.2 innings). That label's going to be pretty hard to shake.
I think the most level assessment of Marcum's last few months and their long term impact came from Toby Harrmann:
Agreed that Marcum is a big reason the #Brewers made it to the playoffs, but that can't excuse his performance in the playoffs.
Several Brewers likely played their final home game at Miller Park last night, but none more notably than Prince Fielder. He went 0-for-4 but still received a standing ovation in his final at bat. Here's a collection of things people are saying about him this morning:
- Fielder talked to reporters after the game about the emotions surrounding his final plate appearance and his last time in the Brewer clubhouse.
- Todd Rosiak of the JS transcribed Fielder's press conference remarks.
- Mark Attanasio told reporters the team plans on doing everything they can to convince Fielder to return.
- Peter Gammons says that the Brewers think Joe Mauer's contract hurts their chances of working out a deal.
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today is predicting Fielder will end up in Florida.
- David Golebiewski of Baseball Analytics notes that Fielder trimmed his strikeout rate from over 19% to 15.3% this season.
So I guess this is what we have left to talk about: Mark Townsend of Big League Stew has a look at what went wrong.
Other notes from the field:
- David Freese, who hit .545/.600/1.091 over the series' six games, was named NLCS MVP.
- Jonathan Lucroy's home run was his first since September 4.
- Carlos Gomez was hit by a pitch last night, and Plunk Everyone has much more about it.
- Babes Love Baseball has a great photo recap of the series.
- Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing caught a pretty telling picture of the final out.
- Rafael Furcal's home run was his sixth against the Brewers this season. He has two against everyone else.
- The series ended without a single lead change after the sixth inning.
- Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing has a look at the Cardinals' unlikely run to the World Series.
- If you went to bed at a reasonable hour last night (and were able to sleep), then you might have missed Ron Roenicke's press conference, our Stat of the Night and the game's turning points.
- David Freese, Albert Pujols and Shaun Marcum are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting.
- 43,926 fans paid to see last night's game. All told, the Brewers sold 263,692 tickets to six home playoff games.
- The Italian won Colin Fly's final Sausage Race.
- The Brewers' "special first pitch surprise" was clubhouse attendant Alex Sanchez, dressed as Sully from Monsters Inc.
As the lights dimmed on the 2011 season last night and the leaf blowers came out in full force, a small but (as always) loud portion of the fan base proclaimed the campaign a failure. 101 wins and an NLCS appearance weren't enough for them: They want a refund on the Greinke and Marcum trades. Looking in from outside, Will McDonald of Royals Review says the Brewers did the right thing. Even 56% of JS readers are still supporting the Marcum/Lawrie trade.
It's still a little early for me to take a long look at the big picture, but Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker says the Beast Mode Brewers will live on, and Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar encourages us to remember the ride, not the finish.
Meanwhile, Baseball In-Depth noted that the Brewer road woes extended into October. Entering last night's game they had a .847 OPS in the playoffs at home and .648 on the road.
With that said, it's worth noting that most of this Brewer team will likely not be dismantled: Adam McCalvy says the bulk of the team's nucleus will return for another season in 2012. Mark Attanasio talked to reporters after the game and showed no signs of backing down going forward. Next year he'll need a new jacket.
Of course, it's only natural to be disappointed. Adam McCalvy talked to Robin Yount about his hopes for this team to avenge the 1982 squad's loss to St, Louis.
Late last night John Axford tweeted out his thanks to the fans for an incredible season. Jacob Peterson of Beyond the Box Score noted that Axford recorded exactly three outs in 95% of his 2011 appearances, tied for the most in all of baseball.
If last night was Takashi Saito's final major league appearance (he'll turn 42 in February, so it very well may be), then he went out with an excellent performance. He was one of just three Brewer pitchers to escape his outing without allowing a run, and pitched two full innings for the first time since 2009. Rany Jazayerli noted that Saito's 2.18 ERA is the lowest ever for a major leaguer with at least 300 games pitched.
LaTroy Hawkins got what might be his last Brewer outing out of the way early: He was called into the game in the third inning in his earliest appearance since 2000.
There's also a chance last night's pinch-hit walk was Casey McGehee's final Brewer appearance. Toby Harrmann thinks the Brewers will tender him a contract, though, saying he won't get much money and can always be cut if he doesn't show anything this spring.
In the minors:
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball is working on his 2012 Prospect Book and posted a preliminary list of Brewer prospects he's planning on covering. Take a look and see if you feel like he's missing anyone.
- The AFL is off on Sunday but Erick Almonte and Caleb Gindl each had hits for their respective teams in the Dominican and Venezuelan winter leagues. You can read about that and more in today's Winter League Notes.
I bet they made a fortune on beer: Don Walker of the JS has a story on the non-profit groups that ran concessions at Miller Park last night.
No transactions to report today, so enjoy a brief musical interlude:
Of course, the 2011 baseball season isn't officially over: The Rangers and Cardinals will open the World Series on Wednesday in St. Louis. At least Lone Star Ball is happy this morning: This is the Fall Classic matchup 65% of them were hoping for. Beyond the Box Score is picking Texas to take the series in five games.
It seems like we have at least one guy like this each year: By virtue of having played for both teams this season, Arthur Rhodes is guaranteed a World Series ring no matter how this week's games turn out.
Today in former Brewers:
- Jim Edmonds and Jesse Orosco made Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times' list of the ten weirdest career-ending performances of all time.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates the birthday of outfielder Glenn Braggs, who played for the Brewers in the late 80's. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also been 15,000 days since Mike Matheny was born. Sometimes we have a slow history day.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find the remote.