Maybe I should say “beating ugly.” Because while there were all kinds of things in this game that were hard to look at, the Brewers looked way worse in losing 12-6 to the NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Three more errors tonight made for seven in Milwaukee’s final two games. Fourteen more hits allowed means 24 in those two games. The Brewers’ defense — never a strength — and their pitching suffered a complete meltdown in Games 5 and 6 of the NLCS.
From the moment Shaun Marcum blew up in Game 2 of the series, people were asking whether he’d get to pitch in Game 6. The response back, however, was who else could Ron Roenicke use? The next arm on the staff was Chris Narveson and he’s no great shakes himself, so Marcum got the call. And he promptly gave up four runs on three hits. From there it was Narveson, who was even worse, giving up five runs on four hits. It seemed that either answer was the wrong one. The Brewers — whose pitching was vastly improved in 2011 — simply didn’t have enough of it as the season came to a close. A good arm like Marcum’s was simply too tired. And there was no one else to pick up the slack.
As for the Cardinals, it was the same old story: a starting pitcher didn’t go deep but the bullpen stepped in and disabused the opposition of any notion that it could get itself back into the game. Edwin Jackson had nothing on his pitches and his command was nonexistent. But then the pen gave Tony La Russa seven innings of three-hit, two-run ball.
And now we have a World Series matchup: Texas vs. St. Louis, beginning on Wednesday. We’ll have a more in-depth preview of the festivities between now and then, but my knee jerk reaction: the Cardinals have a good bullpen pitching well and a lot of pop up and down that lineup. But the Rangers have a better bullpen and more pop in theirs. Although, I suppose someone could totally disrupt the script at this point and, say, leave a starting pitcher in for as many as five or six innings, but why go crazy now?
If we’ve learned anything this fall it’s that predicting baseball is for suckers. But we still have our opinions, and this man’s opinion is that the Rangers seem like the stronger team. We have two full baseball-free days in which to consider the matter, however. For now: congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals: champions of the National League.