I never had any doubt that the Brewers would be leading the NL Central by August.
I knew there would be continual sweeps, great pitcher’s duels and offensive outbursts that couldn’t be matched.
I always hoped that Felip-ayyyyyyy Lopez would be back in a Brewers uniform.
There was never once a bit of hesitation whenever asked if Milwaukee was a legitimate contender in 2011.
Of course, you know that none of the previous statements are true. Yes. I’ve had my doubts about this team. Who hasn’t? They got even bigger once I saw the Pirates were forcing their way towards the top and I thought they were going to be insurmountable when Rickie Weeks went down last week against the Cubs. (Though the surprise re-addition of Lopez puts a bandage on that wound, and the pick-up of Jerry Hairston, Jr. is kinda like the Bactine–it really will help, even though you might not want to put it on.)
However, the Brewers swept that series and followed it up with a sweep of the Astros, which isn’t hard to do when both teams are scraping the bottom of the division and Houston decided to part ways with both Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn during the series.
Milwaukee extended their winning streak to 7 with one monster inning against Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter last night. Zack Greinke allowed a 2-run homer to Matt Holliday in the top of the first and the Brewers were playing with that deficit because Carpenter was lights out through the first 4, allowing just one hit. The Crew batted around in the bottom of the 5th, starting with Yuniesky Betancourt, and all 5 of the runs scored before the first out was recorded. Turns out, Milwaukee didn’t even need all 5, but hey, any time Tony Plush decides to poke his head out for a little fun (and a bases-clearing double), I’m into it.
But, there were a couple of moments that had my heart racing (and not in a good way). I was not pleased to see a bases-loaded, one-out jam at the hands of Greinke in the 6th. The Brewers probably wouldn’t have gotten out of it without harm if it weren’t for a, well, blown call at first on a Skip Schumaker double play-inducing grounder. We all hate bad calls. Until they go our way. So, obviously, I’m okay with it.
With last night’s win, Milwaukee has a relatively comfortable 3 1/2 game cushion over STL. It’s certainly no LoveSac. More like your standard beanbag chair. But it works. And who doesn’t like a beanbag chair?
But what hasn’t been helping on this little climb to the top? Craig Counsell’s bat.
Remember when Counsell used to come in to PH and would actually do something beneficial? Aside from the walk-off sacrifice fly to finish the first half (which I didn’t actually see, due to a 3rd day of preoccupation with Dave Matthews), I do not. Forty-five ABs without a hit. Four RBIs on the season with a .145 AVG. It’s atrocious. Yes, he’s a veteran presence, yes he can still play above average defense, yes he’s…nope. That’s all I got. I love you, Craigy, but turn this around offensively or it’s gonna have to be time to retire. I don’t particularly like either of the 40-year-old lefties on the bench (seriously, Brewers. Who needs TWO??) but something’s gotta give with Counsell. Like, soon.
Attempting to stretch the current streak to 8 wins, Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.33) faces off against Jaime Garcia (10-5, 3.14). Garcia is tough on left-handed hitters, thus Hairston getting the start in CF over Nyjer Morgan and the only lefty in the Brewers line-up is, of couse, Prince Fielder. On the flip-side, Garcia’s ERA in 2 previous starts at Miller Park is 7.20, so if the Crew can continue to swing and play the same smart baseball they’ve been playing as of late, they may be able to solve the otherwise on-point Garcia.
But I’m good. I think that LoveSac is on it’s way.
Grasping onto the coattails of John and Cait, I’ve been thinking a lot about ballpark food lately.
I’ve eaten the most amazing Philly Cheesesteak in St. Louis (go figure) and the tacos at Busch aren’t so bad, either. The nacho bar (and the liquor-types of bars) at Target Field will be hard to rival and although I didn’t have food at Great American Ballpark, the beer selection was pretty nice.
And I have my go-to’s at Miller Park. For sure. Who doesn’t?
Cactus League Nachos and Friday’s Strawberry Long Islands are generally the way to go, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an argument from me otherwise. (Though the baked potato equivalent to the nachos are good, too.) And since my friend Chris’s chicken parm sandwiches were beat by chunks of sausage on a stick (blech!) in the concession contest prior to the start of the season, I haven’t really wanted to try too many of the new items out of spite.
However, the talk of the pulled pork parfait has piqued my interest. For sure.
The first time I tried to get it, I was so excited. I ate a minimal lunch before the 3:10 start in anticipation of meat and potato gloriousness. I was expecting a long line and instead came across just a father and son paying for their pork delectibles. I step up to the counter and place my order.
“Actually, we just ran out of mashed potatoes. I can make you a sandwich, though!”
I have LI-trally never been so disappointed about food in my life. I wanted to trip the small child that was handed the last parfait of the day, steal his and run away. (I had no intention of that sentence rhyming so much.) I kind of wanted to cry. I did’t want a sandwich! I wanted my barbeque slathered pork goodness layered in a dessert cup with mashed potatoes! A sandwich?? A sandwich??? Gah!
I turned to the loaded baked potato for comfort. It wasn’t the same. It could never match the things I’ve heard spoken of the parfait, of that I was certain.
So, friends, tomorrow is my chance. The pulled pork parfait will finally be in my belly. I’ve learned my lesson to not wait. Immediately after securing a Long Island, I’ll make my way over to Section 127 and stand in line as long as it takes.
She will be mine. Oh, yes. She will be mine.
So, um, baseball. Right.
The Brewers absolutely LIT UP Kyle Lohse and assorted Cardinals relievers, handing the Narv Dog a much-needed, and extremely well-deserved win. Ryan Braun and Corey Hart each homered in the 8-0 victory and though the strike zone was somewhat–no, very–inconsistent, Narv pitched 8 shutout innings and the Crew managed to play smart ball on all facets and are now just a game and a half behind the Red Birds.
Tonight Milwaukee sends Zack Greinke (5-1, 4.83 ERA) to face Chris Carpenter (1-5, 4.25 ERA). The Brewers offense has treated Greinke well since he joined the rotation and the team is 6-1 in games he’s started. Both starters have Cy Young Awards under their belts, but Carpenter’s still searching for win #2, despite pitching for a first place team that’s 11 games over .500.
Tomorrow’s game, which I’ll be attending and stuffing my face with yummy food, is Zack Greinke bobblehead day. It’s also a game that could potentially put the Brewers alone in first place (assuming they win tonight). The Brewers have Shaun Marcum (6-2, 2.58 ERA) lined up against Jake Westbrook (6-3, 5.01 ERA). Marcum pitched a lovely game Tuesday night against the Mets but the Brewers couldn’t provide enough offense and they lost it 2-1.
So, here’s to a team that’s finally starting to work together on a consistent basis and here’s to knocking the Cards down a bit!
Narv Dog not bad, no offense.
Garcia pitched amazingly. Cards on top.
Cubbies killed. No gain on Crew.
Manny’s antics headed to DL again.
D-Backs give new guy big win.
Hiatus from 6 words for weekend.
Missing 2 games. Music is better.
Milwaukee lakefront: fireworks, wine, Counting Crows.
Dave Matthews at Alpine Valley. Yes!!!
Parra takes mound against Carpenter tonight.
George starting behind plate. Soooooo happy!
Gallardo on hill for holiday = WIN!
Happy Fourth! Be safe! Go Brewers!