As expected, the first game of the National League Divisional Series has been a classic pitcher’s struggle through the first half.
The Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks have each started their best, and the numbers reflect this. Going into the top of the fifth, there have been seven strikeouts combined between the two teams.
Arizona lost the second battle in the pitching game when Jerry Harriston Jr. hit a sacrifice fly to center field to put his team on the board.
Actually, it is possible that that particular battle was lost when Arizona’s Ian Kennedy hit the already-hurting Rickie Weeks square in the ribs on the at-bat before Harriston Jr.’s, simultaneously loading the bases and giving the Brewers a jolt of emotional charge.
Kennedy lost again when he put Nyjer Morgan on first by hitting him, too. He breathed new life into the Brewers for a second inning in a row.
There’s a third pitching battle in the works where the Brewers have a slight edge: Gallardo has thrown about 10 fewer pitches through the top of the sixth than Kennedy. The Brewers are making Kennedy work harder for his outs, which will ultimately wear him out more quickly.
With a mid-game lead, the Brewers will rely on continued prowess from Gallardo and his eventual pitching relief combined with continued consistency from outfield to navigate them through their first playoff game in three years.