The picture of Mike Cameron leads off this post, but it really should have never got to this point. The only reason Mike Cameron came up just short of catching this fly ball to centerfield was because of the ineptitude of the Bill Hall / Rickie Weeks duo.
I don't know what it is with those two, but I always associate them as being a combo deal. They were in the Time Warner commercial together, they were introduced at the rally together, and they were benched together. Today, they couldn't execute an out on a Cole Hamels sacrifice bunt, and the Phillies used that to their advantage for a three-run 3rd inning.
Those three runs proved enough for Philadelphia, as Cole Hamels was lights out from the mound today. He had a no-hitter rocking until Corey Hart, all of people, squirted one into right center. But that didn't bother Hamels, who ultimately went eight scoreless innings.
It was almost comforting to see Brad Lidge come in the 9th inning, even though he converted on all 41 of his save chances this season. It's no secret Lidge has struggled in the playoffs before, but the main things here is that he wansn't Cole Hamels.
The Brewers took advantage of the switch with a Ray Durham one-out single. Ryan Braun then hit one down the right field line for a doubled, and Durham scored on an error. Fielder struck out, Hardy walked, and the base runners advanced on a wild pitch. Next thing you know, Braun is at 3rd, Hardy 2nd, and Corey Hart is at the plate.
Corey Hart reminds me of the lion from the Wizard of Oz at this point. First, he looks like him. Second, he has no courage. When he's at the plate, he just doens't look like he wants to be there. He's had an awful September, but as one of my Brewers to watch, I thought we might be blessed with some magic. Unfortunately, he struck out as well, and the Phillies won the game 3-1.
Kudos to the Brewers bullpen tonight however. After Gallardo gave up three runs (all unearned), it was Stetter, Villanueva, Parra, and Mota that kept the Brewers in this one. One of the teams biggest weaknesses became one of their strengths today, a trend that needs to continue if the Brewers are going to come back and win this series.
After the game, I wasn't too upset we lost this one. I thought, this is a five game series, and the Brewers have plenty of chances to still advance to the NLCS. We got Sabathia going tomorrow, and then it's back to Miller Park for the weekend. That, and I'm just happy to be in the playoffs.
But as I write this, I start to think otherwise. I think of all the blown chances today, both offensively and defensively. I want to say the Crew lost because of how incredible Hamels was today, but the Brewers have looked like that at the plate all September. This was one that despite our poor play, we still had the chance to win.
This was the first playoff game for a lot of these guys, so I'm not too worried. If we can get a win tomorrow, I think the Brewers have a pretty good shot at this series.
TBC's Player of the Game: Carlos Villanueva