Corey Hart, Prince Fielder

NLDS Diamondbacks-Brewers Game 1 Live Blog

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4:52: Game of the NLDS is in the books, as the Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks 4-1. John Axford pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to notch the save.

The series will resume tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET when Daniel Hudson pitches against Zack Greinke.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for a recap. Enjoy the rest of the games on the schedule for this evening.

4:43: And off we go to the top of the ninth. John Axford is indeed coming in to close this one out. The Diamondbacks have Aaron Hill, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero due up.

4:35: Gallardo followed the solo blast by Roberts by striking out three straight batters to end the top of the eighth. He’s at 106 pitches, so we’ll likely see John Axford in the top of the ninth.

Gallardo allowed just one run on four hits (including the homer by Roberts) while striking out nine and walking just one.

4:28: The Diamondbacks are finally on the board here in the top of the eighth, as Ryan Roberts just went deep to straight away center field to cut the lead to 4-1.

4:19: Well, the Brewers have some insurance. Prince Fielder just slugged a two-run homer off Ian Kennedy in the bottom of the seventh to give the Brewers a 4-0 lead. It followed a two-out double by Ryan Braun. Probably not smart to pitch to Prince with first base open.

Ian Kennedy is now done for the day after throwing 111 pitches. He allowed four runs on eight hits (including the homer by Fielder) over 6 2/3 innings while striking out three and walking one.

4:10: Make that seven scoreless frames for Gallardo. Nyjer Morgan made an excellent running catch to end the inning, eventually running into the center field wall.

Gallardo has only thrown 87 pitches. He’s really rolling right now, so one would think he’ll at least be back out there for the eighth.

4:05: Yuniesky Betancourt just almost killed Ryan Braun. OK, not really, but they did have a minor collision as Betancourt snagged a pop-fly in shallow left field. Everybody is OK, though.

4:00: Gallardo grounds into a fielder’s choice to end the bottom of the sixth, but he now has himself a 2-0 lead going into the top of the seventh.

Gallardo has only thrown 75 pitches so far this afternoon.

3:59: Jonathan Lucroy dumps one in short left field for a single to drive in Betancourt and give the Brewers a 2-0 lead.

3:56: Yuniesky Betancourt hits a two-out triple to keep the bottom of the sixth alive. Gerardo Parra had trouble tracking down the ball after it kicked off the wall in left. The Brewers need to cash this one in.

3:50: Gallardo works around a single by Willie Bloomquist to get out of the sixth. For some reason, Justin Upton dove head first into first base while trying to beat out a ground ball for the final out of the inning. Pretty positive he would have made it if he kept his stride. Oh well.

3:42: And so much for that. Fielder lines out to left for the final out of the inning. Another missed opportunity. Still 1-0 Brewers as we move to the sixth.

3:39: Braun with a broken-bat single to left. The Brewers have runners on first and second with two outs for Prince Fielder.

3:37: Kennedy hits Nyjer Morgan in the leg by a pitch with two outs. Obviously no intent there. Here comes Ryan Braun.

3:30: Gallardo just needed seven pitches to set the Diamondbacks aside. It’s 1-0 Brewers moving to the bottom of the fifth.

3:26: Ian Kennedy was able to get a couple ground balls from Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy to end the inning. He’s actually pretty fortunate to walk away with only one run scoring considering the bases were loaded with nobody out. Yovani Gallardo is dealing right now, but this could come back to bite them.

3:22: Jerry Hairston Jr. drives in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly on the first pitch.

3:21: Rickie Weeks is hit by the pitch. And the crowd boos. Yeah, because Ian Kennedy really wants to hit somebody right now. Sigh. Bases loaded for Hairston.

3:20: Prince Fielder takes advantage of the shift for a double down the left field line. Runners on second and third for Rickie Weeks now. None out.

3:19: Ryan Braun rips a leadoff single into left field. Table set for Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks.

3:13: Gets Chris Young swinging for the final out. Gallardo now has five strikeouts over four scoreless innings. We’re moving to the bottom of the fourth in Milwaukee.

3:10: Miguel Montero sends one to the warning track in right-center field for the second out of the inning. Hill still on first base.

3:06: Leadoff walk for Aaron Hill on a very, very close pitch. Didn’t swing, either.

3:01: This probably isn’t the case, but it sort of sounded like Nyjer Morgan has the X-Files theme for his at-bat music. Wouldn’t be that surprising, I suppose. Anyway, he goes down looking for the third out. We’re scoreless through three innings.

3:00: Gallardo pops up the first pitch, which is a shame, because he’s one of my favorite hitting pitchers. Some others? Mike Leake, Dontrelle Willis, Livan Hernandez. Any other good ones I’m missing?

2:56: And Gallardo sits them down in order. We’re still scoreless going into the bottom of the third.

2:53: And now Ian Kennedy goes down looking. Three Ks for Gallardo through the first nine batters.

2:49: Parra goes down looking for the first out. I’d still rather have him leading off than Bloomquist, though.

2:46: Lucroy flies out to left for the final out in the bottom of the second inning. A missed opportunity, as they leave two runners on and do not score.

On the bright side for the Brewers, they made Kennedy threw 27 pitches. He’s at 39 pitches through two innings.

2:42: Hairston reaches on a hard-hit infield single after a long at-bat. Ryan Roberts couldn’t quite get the handle, but he at least prevented the ball from going down the third base line.

2:37: Ian Kennedy walks Rickie Weeks for the first Brewers’ baserunner of the game. Ron Kulpa gave him the outside corner on Fielder, but he just missed this time.

2:32: These constant “Big Bang Theory” promos almost make me long for the days of Frank Caliendo. Almost.

2:30: Overbay goes down swinging for the second out while Ryan Roberts flies out to right for the final out of the top of the second.

By the way, did you happen to notice Gallardo’s final three starts this season? 12Ks, 13Ks, 11Ks. Ridiculous.

2:26: Not sure how accurate this pitch tracker is on TBS, but I’m enjoying it so far. Not too distracting.

2:22: Ian Kennedy shuts the Brewers down in order in the bottom of the first.

2:16: No score as we move to the bottom of the first. The remarkable part about that first inning was how the announcers talked about swinging at first pitches as if that is a good thing. OK.

2:12: Single to left by Justin Upton, but Bloomquist is gunned down at the plate by Ryan Braun. And it wasn’t all that close.

2:11: Bloomquist now steals second base. The Diamondbacks have a runner in scoring position with one out.

2:08: Well, he made me shut up rather quickly. Single of the first pitch of the ballgame.

2:07: Wow, nothing quite like Willie Bloomquist and his .317 career on-base percentage leading off a playoff game.

2:00 PM ET: The American League began postseason play yesterday (though not completely, thanks to the suspended game in New York), but now it’s the National League’s turn, as the Diamondbacks and Brewers will play Game 1 of the NLDS.

Ian Kennedy (21-4, 2.88 ERA) is on the hill for the D-Backs while Yovani Gallardo (17-10) will get the call for the Brewers.

I’ll be dropping some of my random thoughts and observations here throughout the ballgame. Feel free to join the conversation in our comments section.

Looking for lineups? We have you covered right here.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.