MLB Playoffs 2011: Game 1 Win Proves Milwaukee Brewers Are Built for October
The Milwaukee Brewers completely dismantled the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game 1 of their 2011 NLDS opener. They won by a final score of 4-1, although the Diamondbacks never stood a chance after failing to capitalize in the first inning.
The Brewers tagged Diamondbacks pitcher and NL Cy Young candidate Ian Kennedy for eight hits and four runs in six and two-thirds innings, making him appear far less dominant than he did throughout the entire regular season.
It was a great all-around game for Milwaukee, as they compiled four extra-base hits while allowing a total of four hits against, and the team looked more than solid in the field.
If we learned anything from the Brewers' Game 1 performance, it's that they are built for October and more than ready to compete for the title.
The Nerves Are Gone
The Brewers got their first taste of the postseason in 2008, where they were quickly dismantled in four games by the eventual World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.
They were a young team at that point, getting their first taste of the postseason. Quite frankly, just getting to the playoffs was a huge win for the young team, regardless of the footprint they would leave in October.
Three years later, the Brewers look much more like a legitimate contender. The have the talent and the swagger of a team ready to win the title, taking the field with confidence while finally performing on the big stage.
If this is a sign of things to come, Milwaukee may have a crazy few weeks ahead.
Jerry Hairston Proves to Be Anchor at Third Base
Add Jerry Hairston to the list of solid acquisitions by Brewers GM Doug Melvin this season.
Hairston got the nod at third base over Casey McGehee during Game 1, and it didn't take long for fans to see why.
Hairston went one for two, with one walk and a sacrifice fly to plate the first run, but that's not where his largest contribution came from on the field.
Playing third base, Hairston used his speed and accurate throwing arm to make a number of great plays, some of which McGehee would not have been able to make.
Anyone who wasn't on-board with Hairston taking over at third base for the postseason should probably reconsider after his Game 1 performance.
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder Are Ready to Carry the Load
The Brewers' two NL MVP candidates proved they are ready to shine during their Game 1 performances.
Neither Braun nor Fielder had a loud postseason in 2008, but both appear locked and loaded the second time around.
The dynamic duo combined to go five for eight with three runs, two doubles, a home run and two RBI during Game 1, and both looked supremely confident each time they stepped up to the plate.
Opposing teams should be scared if one of them gets hot in October, but if both get hot the Brewers have a chance to run through the postseason with ease.
Yovani Gallardo Is a Big Game Pitcher
Yovani Gallardo pitched seven innings in the 2008 NLDS against the Phillies, allowing only three hits and no earned runs.
Through eight innings during Game 1, Gallardo allowed one run on four hits and a walk. He also struck out nine batters. Aside from a little bit of trouble in the first inning, Gallardo looked absolutely dominant over the next seven.
It was important for Gallardo to open the postseason with a good start seeing as none of their other starters have any playoff experience, yet he pitched even better than anyone could have asked for.
If their opener was any indication of things to come, the Brewers appear primed for a deep postseason run.
Jeffrey Beckmann is a MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow Jeffrey on his new Twitter account for all of his latest work. You can also hear him each Friday at 1 p.m. EST on B/R Baseball Roundtable.
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