Win: Vinnie "Superman" Chulk (1-0)
Loss: Some Cubs guy who's, like, the last person they would ever use I guess (0-1)
HR: David DeJesus (1), Hart (7)
MVP: Corey Hart (.452 WPA)
LVP: John Axford (-.762 WPA)
Five hours and four minutes. It took forever, and it took a whole lot of blown opportunities, but the Brewers finally walked out of Miller Park with a win. If they walked out. Carried out, maybe. Sleeping in their locker room, maybe. But they won.
But seriously. Blown opportunities. So many of them. Look at this Win Expectancy Graph. Gaze upon it.
That's ridiculous. It really is. And as nice as that end line shooting straight through the roof is, it should have happened a long time ago. Like, two and a half hours ago.
Look, the Brewers won. I don't want to take anything away from that. It always feels good to see our favorite team get a win, especially when they work this hard for one. But the fact of the matter remains: The Brewers should never have had to work this hard. They had plenty of chances before the bottom of the thirteenth to with this game. They started up 1-0. That lasted until the seventh inning. During that inning, Jose Veras loaded the bases. The man who was supposed to be the Brewers third best reliever loaded the bases. So the Brewers called on old faithful, Kameron Loe, to try and work his magic with one out. Instead of said magic, he gave up a grand slam to David DeJesus.
David DeJesus! He averages not that many home runs a season!
So, grand slam and everyone is feeling pretty down. This is right around where the Brewers decide to toy with their fans' emotions. Because after giving up four runs and going down 4-1, the Brewers turn right back around and score four in the bottom of the seventh, going up by one run again. Aramis Ramirez doubled in Ryan Braun for the first run, then Jonathan Lucroy hit a pinch hit double with the bases loaded to plate three more. Lucroy was thrown out for the third out trying to make it to third on the play. Such is the fate of those who hustle.
Fast forward to the ninth inning with John Axford pitching with a one run lead. Now, I know what you're thinking: "But Noah, that's a save situation. How could the game go into extra innings if John Axford were in to close down the ninth?"
Well, I'm sorry to inform you that John Axford blew the save. He had a chance to extend his save streak to fifty tonight, but unfortunately he will have to create a new streak. After a throwing error by Ramirez allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base, David DeJesus tripled the run in with one out. DeJesus then scored on a wild pitch and Alfonso Soriano drove in a run to give the Cubs a 7-5 advantage.
That was the second big dip on the win expectancy graph. You'll notice that it goes back up. That's because Corey Hart hit a two run home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game back up and send us to extra innings.
Fun fact: The Brewers had their leadoff batter reach base in every extra inning. Cesar Izturis walked in the 10th, Ryan Braun walked in the 11th, Jonathan Lucroy walked in the 12th, and Rickie Weeks was hit by a pitch in the 13th. That's part of where the missed opportunities came in.
Eventually, with the bases loaded and no outs, Corey Hart singled in the game winning run.
Corey Hart was pretty awesome today.
- The other part of the whole missed opportunities spiel is fourteen walks. Fourteen walks. I don't remember the last time the Brewers walked that much. Ryan Braun drew four free passes, while George Kottaras drew three. Even Cesar Izturis drew two walks! That, coupled with 11 hits, means the Brewers had 25 baserunners. More, actually, because of a Cubs error and hit-by-pitches. Eight runs is a lot of runs. It should have been more. This game should have been over way earlier than it was.
- Lost amid all this extra innings and blown save stuff is a hell of a start from Randy Wolf. It was a little shaky the first couple innings but he ended up throwing six four-hit shutout innings while striking out five. He maintained a 1-0 lead when it seemed like the Brewers really didn't feel like scoring any baserunners. I know I'm not Wolf's biggest fan, at all, but kudos to him for today. With the offensive inefficiencies today, anything less than what he did would have resulted in a loss.
- And how about the job that the back of the bullpen did? Tim Dillard got a big final out in the ninth inning and then, in extra innings, Manny Parra and Vinnie Chulk shone. Both pitched two scoreless innings. While Parra didn't have his control going at first, he ended up striking out three hitters. Chulk, on the other hand, struck out two. Both allowed three baserunners. It wasn't perfect but they got the job done.
- If this game had gone any longer, I'm not sure who would have pitched. It depends on their bullpen sessions, but one of the starting pitchers would have had to come on. The Brewers had already burned through their position players and used Zack Greinke to pinch hit already. I think Greinke pinch hitting is a big clue as to who the Brewers had in mind to pitch had this game gone longer. Yovani Gallardo is unequivocally the best hitting pitcher the Brewers have and the Brewers let Greinke swing freely rather than bunt a runner over from first when he pinch-hit. To me, this means that the Brewers were going to look Gallardo's way if they needed to call out another pitcher. If they didn't, Gallardo should have pinch-hit instead of Greinke. That's where the yo-yo but no yo title came from. The game went back and forth but at least Yovani Gallardo can still make his start and yeah it's a dumb title but I'm not going to change it now.
- Rickie Weeks was hit twice by pitches today. The second came in the game-winning thirteenth inning when a fastball hit him square on the wrist. Hopefully he's OK, but trainers gave him a good look and he seemed to be in pain. He stayed in the game, but that may only have been due to necessity. There was nobody who could take his place at second. Thankfully the Brewers won the game that inning, so we didn't have to find out what would happen if Weeks had to leave the game. I imagine we'll hear more about his condition tomorrow.
- Corey Hart was 4-7 tonight, with three RBI and two runs scored. He also had the two biggest clutch hits of the night for the Brewers. He had a terrible defensive play earlier in the game, but more than earned his spot as MVP today.
- George Kottaras caught the first seven innings of the game while Jonathan Lucroy caught the last six. It will be interesting to see who gets the start with a day game tomorrow.