Some things to read while getting back to 100%.
For just the second time in franchise history the Brewers have taken a 1-0 lead in a playoff series, and much of the credit belongs to Yovani Gallardo. He allowed just one run on four hits over eight innings yesterday in the best postseason pitching performance by WPA in Brewer franchise history. He also tied Don Sutton's postseason franchise record with nine strikeouts in the game.
It's still too early to start celebrating, but yesterday's win was a big first step. Adam McCalvy notes that 29 of 32 teams that have won an NLDS game one have gone on to take the series.
Prince Fielder gave the Brewers a couple of insurance runs with a key home run yesterday, and rounded the bases in 19.43 seconds. He was the last batter Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy faced in the game, and the decision to pitch to him with first base open has drawn a fair amount of conversation:
- Friendo narrated the event with a series of snapshots.
Adam McCalvy compared it to a decision to pitch to Kirk Gibson during the 1984 World Series.
- Fielder used to live two blocks from Gibson.
- Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs says "I seriously doubt people would have even mentioned Kennedy pitching to Fielder if the plate appearance had ended in a lazy fly to left field, or even a walk followed by a Weeks ground out to end the inning."
Jonathan Lucroy only had one hit yesterday but it was a big one: His single drove in the Brewers' second run. Tyler Lockman of FS Wisconsin talked to Ian Kennedy about the matchup after the game and tweeted this:
#Dbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy after today's game called #Brewers C Jonathan Lucroy "a guy who can't hit, really." Them's fightin' words.
Other notes from the field:
- The Brewers are the first NL Central champion to win a playoff game since the Cardinals did it in 2006.
- Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are leading FanGraphs' Star of the Game voting. Fielder was responsible for two of the game's turning points.
- John Axford picked up career postseason save #1 yesterday. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com has a great story on Axford's rise from obscurity.
- Here's a transcript of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- The JS has a collection of quotes collected after the game.
- Diamondbacks coach Don Baylor was taken to the hospital Friday after fainting in the clubhouse (FanShot), but was with the team yesterday and said the incident was due to a reaction to medication.
- 44,122 fans paid to see yesterday's game, less than the Brewers drew to five different regular season games.
- Bob Uecker threw out yesterday's first pitch, and Robin Yount will do it today.
- The Chorizo won the Sausage Race.
- Adam McCalvy has a roundup of the MLB.com coverage.
The two teams are back in action today, and the start time has been moved to 4:07 to make room for an extra Yankees-Tigers contest necessitated by Friday's rainout (FanShot). Mike Bauman of MLB.com has the preview. For whatever it's worth, the roof will be closed. I forgot to mention it on Friday, but the Prognostikeggers postseason challenge is open and ready for your predictions.
If you're planning on heading out to the game today, you probably should already be on your way. The parking lots will open for tailgating at 1 and the Miller Park gates will open at 2.
Zack Greinke will be on the mound this afternoon, and Tyler Lockman of FS Wisconsin talked to him about the preparations for his first career playoff start. Ron Roenicke told Todd Rosiak he'd "be happy with five innings" from Greinke today, but I have a hard time believing Greinke would be getting the ball if that was true. It was Greinke's decision to pitch today instead of waiting until Tuesday.
I haven't seen today's lineup yet, but Casey McGehee is expected to be in it. He sat yesterday in favor of Jerry Hairston Jr but has good career numbers against Daniel Hudson, today's starter for Arizona.
While Greinke takes the mound today, Shaun Marcum continues to get ready for his first career postseason start on Tuesday. Plunk Everyone notes that Marcum faced 823 batters in the regular season but hit none of them, leading the NL. Follow that link for several more plunk-related awards.
Looking ahead one more day, Randy Wolf has been confirmed as the starter for Wednesday's fourth game in the series. It was unlikely the Brewers would consider pitching Yovani Gallardo on short rest in the game even before he threw 106 pitches yesterday.
While the roof was closed yesterday and will be again today, sunlight filtering in through Miller Park's panels and windows will likely create issues with shadows again today. Lori Nickel of the JS talked to Jonathan Lucroy about the challenges they create for players trying to see the ball.
I wasn't going to mention any more predictions today, but this one is so overwhelmingly positive it startled me: 20 of FanGraphs' 22 contributors think the Brewers will win the NLDS, over half (13) think they'll win the NLCS, and seven are picking them to win the World Series.
It feels a little early to be thinking about stuff like this but the B-Ref Blog has a list of crossover players for every possible World Series matchup, including all four for the Crew. In a related note: Craig Counsell, Damian Miller, Lyle Overbay, Dan Plesac and Mike Myers are the most notable crossover Brewer/Diamondbacks.
Award season continued yesterday as Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke (but not Prince Fielder) were named to Satchel Price of Beyond the Box Score's NL Central Postseason All Star Team. Fielder, Braun and Axford also made MLB Depth Charts' September All Star team.
Those awards will have to tide Braun over for a while, it appears: The BBWAA site says the NL MVP won't be announced until November 22. I'm hoping that's a typo. Buster Olney and Jon Heyman are both picking Braun to win the award. Heyman also has Prince Fielder #2 on his ballot. Ben Badler of Baseball America called Braun's plate coverage "unbelievable" and said it "feels like a privilege to watch him hit."
If you missed it, on Friday I traded questions with Jim McLennan of AZ Snake Pit regarding this series. You can read his answers to my questions here, and my answers to his questions over there. Please disregard the fact that I forgot Diamondbacks SS Stephen Drew is injured. Big League Stew has a list of ten numbers to keep in mind during the series.
Also, I hope you're enjoying this little bit of history: The Brewers and Diamondbacks are playing the first playoff series ever between two teams with retractable roof stadiums.
In the minors:
- Yesterday was the first day for this winter's possible minor league free agents to file, and Felipe Lopez was one of 22 players to do so.
- Rattler Radio has a box score from Thursday's instructional league game, which featured home runs by three Brewer prospects.
- Frequent readers of the site know that I often quote John Sickels of Minor League Ball when discussing prospects. His Baseball Prospect Book is the only one I purchase each year, and the 2012 edition is available for pre-order.
- Sickels, by the way, has brief scouting reports of the rookies who spent time with the Brewers this season.
Care to guess how much time you've spent watching baseball this season? Flip Flop Fly Ball says the Brewers played 475 hours and 20 minutes of regular season baseball in 2011 (plus 2:44 yesterday), roughly in the middle of the pack among major league teams. I'd venture to guess I watched well over 400 hours of it.
Looking for a place to watch the game today? If you're away from Milwaukee, bernie h. needs your help locating and/or organizing viewing parties. If you're looking for a place to watch the game in the Appleton area, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are hosting another game watching party today. They posted the pictures from yesterday on their Facebook page.
I'd never really considered it until this morning, but I'd guess trying to get a concession crew and supplies together on short notice for a sold out playoff game crowd is a pretty challenging endeavor. Don Walker of the JS talked to Tom Olson of Sportservice about the preparations for this weekend's games.
I guess this is something like a power ranking, so I'll drop it here: The Brewers were ranked 30th out of 122 in ESPN SportsNation's ranking of teams from all four major sports. The Packers are #1, while the Bucks are 93rd.
Elsewhere in Brewers/Packers notes: Pat Borzi of the New York Times talked to Craig Counsell and John Axford about today's Brewer/Packer timeslot conflict.
The Brewers picked a good time to minimize backlash while announcing this: Ticket prices for 2012 are going up, and games will be re-categorized next season to better fit demand.
Angels: General manager Tony Reagins has resigned (FanShot).
Athletics: Announced bench coach Joel Skinner, pitching coach Ron Romanick and hitting coach Gerald Perry will not return in 2012 and acquired minor league outfielder Eliezer Mesa from the Rockies as the PTBNL in the Mark Ellis trade.
Braves: Announced hitting coach Larry Parrish will not return for 2012.
Red Sox: Manager Terry Francona will not return for 2012.
White Sox: Signed closer Sergio Santos to a three year, $8.25 million contract extension with club options for 2015, 2016, 2017.
Yesterday's Brewer game was one of four playoff contests played around baseball, and three more are on tap today. For recaps of yesterday's action and a preview of today, check out this morning's edition of Around the MLB Playoffs.
Today in baseball economics: Things continue to look pretty bleak for the Mets: Their attendance was down over 8% in 2011 and reached its lowest level since 2004. That decline contributed to losses of nearly $70 million for the team this year.
I love a good pun as much as (or maybe more than) the next guy, but some of the headline puns collected by Lookout Landing during the playoffs are awful even by my standards.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates the 60th birthday of outfielder Bob Coluccio. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the anniversary of Warren Spahn's final major league appearance in 1965, the Brewers signing Sixto Lezcano as an amateur free agent in 1970 and Bill Wegman's final game in 1995.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've misplaced my costume.