It is possible that the Arizona Diamondbacks are simply pulling out of their slump after giving up back-to-back losses in Milwaukee. It’s also possible that they were looking for a little bit of payback after being embarrassed in their 9-4 loss on Sunday.
The Milwaukee Brewers started the day with pitcher Shaun Marcum. He seemed a logical choice for the Brewers’ first away game in the playoffs; in 13 games he started this season, Marcum went 8-3 with a 2.21 ERA.
Surely he could put the series away for the Brewers to give them time to look forward to the National League Championship Series; especially against rookie starter Josh Collmenter.
Instead, through 4.2 innings, Marcum somehow managed to churn out a seven-hit, 13.5 ERA performance, capped off with a grand slam that left the game in a practically un-salvageable state.
To be fair, the loss isn’t solely on Marcum’s shoulders.
On the defensive side of the ball, an error by Jerry Hairston Jr. and sloppy fielding all around helped set Marcum up to fail. Offensively, the Brewers were able to put up just three hits in the entire game. Their only run came from a solo homer courtesy of Corey Hart in the top of the third.
The loss the Brewers suffered isn’t the concerning part. All games are meaningful in a best-of-five series, but the Brewers still hold the lead and home-field advantage.
What’s more concerning is the return of the offensive and defensive indifference that seemed to slam into Milwaukee at unexpected times throughout the year.
Although the Brewers were sometimes able to pull out wins when the offense or defense sometimes did not show up to the game, they ran into problems when both sides of the field took a simultaneous break.
That was exactly the case Tuesday night.
Fortunately for the Brew Crew, there hasn’t been a time that they have dropped back-to-back games since the five-game losing streak in early September. All streaks must come to an end, though, and the Diamondbacks would like nothing more than to be the team to wrest away another game or two.
This isn’t the regular season any longer, either, where it’s easy enough to shrug off a bad loss. This is playoff baseball. And in playoff baseball, desperate teams have been known to claw their way back into races. It doesn’t happen often—a team that started the playoffs 0-2 hasn’t advanced since the early 2000s—but it has happened.
In a playoff race that is all about momentum, the Brewers really dropped the ball in Game 3. Or, more accurately, they handed it to the Diamondbacks.
The Brew Crew had really better hope that either their bats or their gloves show up Wednesday night—hopefully both.
Handing off another game to Arizona, a team that prides itself on its comeback prowess, will surely swing the momentum further in the Diamondbacks’ favor. That could spell disaster at Miller Park in Game 5.