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World Series Set, Almost

By bullpenbrian - October 13, 2011 - 2:30 pm Leave a comment.

Get ready for a St. Louis-Texas World Series.

I’m speaking ‘unofficially,’ of course, but that’s where the LCS’s are headed.

Texas has the all too commanding 3-1 lead over Detroit. And even with the Tigers throwing Justin Verlander in Game 5…at best they’ll need him to come back on three days rest for a potential Game 7 in Arlington.

The Rangers’ bullpen, more so than its potent lineup, has been the difference maker. The relief corps allowed just a single run through 15 innings of the first three games–and one run in Game 4. Simply, Lights. Out.

Meanwhile, back in St. Louis…the Cardinals and Chris Carpenter withstood Milwaukee’s best chance to gain the series winning Game 3, 4-3.

For all intents and purposes, Yovani Gallardo lost the game, and perhaps the series, in the first inning allowing the first five Cardinals to reach base. Four of those runners scored–and that was that.

Cards win game. Cards take 2-1 series lead.

In fact, the Cardinals bullpen retired the last 12 Milwaukee hitters in a row and allowed just a single base runner from the fifth inning on. Sound familiar, Detroit fans?

Now St. Louis feasts on Randy Wolf in Game 4, coming off a 7 ER performance in his NLDS start vs. Arizona. And for dessert, a tasty treat of Zach Greinke and his 9.00 postseason ERA in Game 5.

The Brewers have lost eight consecutive postseason games on the road. They don’t beat the Cardinals in Milwaukee, and now they have to take 3 of 4 to win the series.

Not impossible, but not likely either.

St. Louis vs. Texas. Who knew?

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Cards Brewing Another World Series

By bullpenbrian - October 11, 2011 - 1:50 am 2 comments.

The Milwaukee Brewers are in big-time trouble.

Despite the major’s best home record during the regular season (57 wins), Milwaukee hasn’t figured out how to beat St. Louis at Miller Park, especially when it counts.

The Cards’ dominating 12-3 win in Game 2 is crucial not only because it ties the series 1-1, but because it swings the momentum heavily in St. Louis’ favor with the series shifting to Busch Stadium for the next three games.

Winning road games has been the Brewers’ Achilles heel all year (39-42), as was evident during its two losses at Arizona during the NLDS.

To make matters worse, Chris Carpenter, fresh off a complete game shutout against the Phils and publicly disrespected by Zach Greinke, goes in Game 3 against the Brewers top-gun Yovani Gallardo, who appears the Brewers last hope to send the series back to Milwaukee.

Although a single victory for the Brewers in St. Louis returns the series back to Miller Park, you can forget any notion of a home-field advantage for the Beer Makers.

The Cardinals have won 7 of its last 9 meetings against the Brewers in Milwaukee, including a tense 3-game sweep during the first week of September that propelled St. Louis to its historic 10.5 game comeback against the Braves to win the Wild Card.

So it seems unlikely Milwaukee would win consecutive games at home against St. Louis, especially under the pressure of a Game 6 & 7.

In all likelihood, advancing the to the World Series for Milwaukee means winning its upcoming road trip. How’s that for home-field advantage.

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NLCS Poll

By bullpenbrian - October 10, 2011 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.
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Will ‘Beast Mode’ Prevail?

By bullpenbrian - October 7, 2011 - 2:01 am Leave a comment.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Here’s a quick thumbnail sketch of Friday’s decisive Game 5 between Arizona-Milwaukee. Fist pitch is scheduled for 4:07 CT on TBS.

Simply said, we’re looking at a rematch of Game 1, a 4-1 win for Milwaukee, between starters Yovani Gallardo & Ian Kennedy.

Gallardo is is 6-0 with a 1.18 ERA in six career starts against Arizona.

Kennedy, meanwhile, is a 21-game winner that was cruising through Game 1 until allowing a two-run homer in the seventh to Prince Fielder, who by the way, may be playing his last game in a Brewers uniform.

Ryan Braun, Fielder and Rickie Weeks are coming off a woeful 3-for-23 road trip in Arizona. The three, however, combined to go 10-for-22 in Games 1 & 2 at Miller Park.

The D-Backs are riding high offensively having plated 18 runs over the past two games, both victories in Arizona.

They also became just the second team ever to hit grand slams in consecutive postseason games, joining the 1977 Dodgers.

The Snakes are also looking to become just the eighth team to recover from an 0-2 series deficit in a best-of-five series, which isn’t out of the question considering they managed a major league best 48 come-from-behind wins during the regular season.

But Milwaukee isn’t likely to go down without a fight, where they too, set a major league mark in 2011 reaching 57 home victories.

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MLB Playoffs Game 5

By bullpenbrian - October 6, 2011 - 3:01 pm Leave a comment.

We knew the MLB Postseason would have a hard time surpassing, let alone matching, the high drama of last Wednesday’s playoff push.

However, for just the second time since 1995 three of the four Division Series are headed to a decisive Game 5, the first of which begins tonight at Yankee Stadium.

The last time this happened was 2001. Aside from Atlanta sweeping Houston 3-0, Arizona defeated St. Louis in five games, Seattle bested Cleveland 3-2, and New York rallied from an 0-2 hole to take the series against Oakland.

But the excitement was short lived with both league championship series ending in five games: Arizona defeating Atlanta 4-1, and New York doing the same against Seattle.

Conversely, under the shadow of 9/11, the postseason closed with one of the more memorable World Series in recent memory: the Diamondbacks winning a seven-games series against the Yankees.

Obviously, there are no guarantees this Fall Classic will follow suite with 2001. But so far, baseball’s playoffs are living up to the hype!

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Brewers Odds On Favorite

By bullpenbrian - October 5, 2011 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Despite an 8-1 drubbing against Arizona in Game 3 of the NLDS, odds are the Milwaukee Brewers, holding a 2-1 series lead, will advance to play either the Phillies or Cardinals in the NLCS, at least according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Including this postseason, of the 65 best-of-five playoffs series in which a team trailed 0-2, only seven have recovered to win three straight.

I’ve listed those great comebacks, or in the case of the ’84 Cubs, collapses, below.

-2003 ALDS Boston, 0-2, defeated Oakland
-2001 ALDS New York, 0-2, defeated Oakland
-1999 ALDS Boston, 0-2, defeated Cleveland
-1995 ALDS Seattle, 0-2, defeated new York
-1984 NLCS San Diego, 0-2, defeated Chicago
-1982 ALCS Milwaukee, 0-2, defeated Anaheim
-1981 NLDS Los Angeles, 0-2, defeated Houston

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Homers, Castro & Soriano

By bullpenbrian - September 26, 2011 - 3:01 pm Leave a comment.

A few Cubs notes heading into the season’s final series this week in San Diego.

-Chicago has three players with 25 or more HR this year including Carlos Pena (28), Aramis Ramirez (25) & Alfonso Soriano (25).

Milwaukee is the only other club in the NL to match the same feat with Prince Fielder (35), Ryan Braun (33) & Corey Hart (25).

The last time the Cubs reached this same mark was 2004 when four players hit 25 or more HR: Moises Alou (39), Aramis (36), Sammy Sosa (35) & Derrek Lee (32).

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Mr. Cubs Race!

By bullpenbrian - September 24, 2011 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.

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Coleman A Magic No. For Brewers

By bullpenbrian - September 19, 2011 - 3:01 pm Leave a comment.

Not much of anything has gone right for the Cubs this season, and Monday night looks to be no exception.

The Brewers come to town with the major’s best road record since August 5 (17-5) and are winners of three straight having swept Cincinnati over the weekend to trim its Magic No. to 4.They’ve also won six straight games against Chicago, badly outscoring the Cubs 23-12.

To make matter worse, Casey Coleman (2-8, 7.06 ERA) who hasn’t won in five starts, toes the rubber for Chicago. And the Brewers have flat worn this guy out in 2011.

Ryan Bruan is 7-for-10 vs. Coleman, including a HR and two doubles. Corey Hart is 5-for-7 with a HR against him. Then sandwich in Prince Fielder and Cubs-killer, Casey McGehee, and it appears to be another short night for Coleman, at least on paper.

If there’s a lone bright spot at all for the Cubs it’s seeing if Starlin Castro can extend his consecutive games streak of reaching base safely to 32.

Woody English had two such streaks as a Cubs SS dating way back to 1929, a 34-game run, and another the following season of 32 consecutive games in 1930.

Otherwise, I’d settle for just seeing the Cubs drive in a run with runners in scoring position. How’s that for finishing the season strong?

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Cubs Beat Mets, Lose To NFL

By bullpenbrian - September 12, 2011 - 2:00 am Leave a comment.

If you’re reading this post chances are you’re one of the few Cubs fans who hasn’t tuned out the baseball season in favor of the NFL. Although, who could blame you for doing so? Nonetheless, your attention is appreciated.

Moving on…A wild-and-wooly win for the Cubs at Citi Field Sunday night. The Cubs six-run rally in the 11th covered another late-game lead squandered by the bullpen.

It’s the third straight game Chicago has coughed up a lead. Yet, somehow they managed to take 2 of 3 against the Mets to win its first series in New York since July of 2006.

Better still, the Cubs are 4-2 over its last six road series beginning August 1 in Pittsburgh. That’s helped push the Cubs record to (22-17) since July 31, tied with St. Louis for the second-best mark in the division during that span.

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