To mark the momentous occasion that is the 2008 Playoffs we asked a couple of esteemed guest writers to talk about their favorite team's chances this postseason. Brewers bloggers must hate us because none of them replied to our emails. You're stuck with a Phillies supporter writing this preview, buster.
So, the Brewers. First postseason appearance in twenty-six years. Good for them. Bob Uecker must be absolutely gushing. Bud Selig too, that old coot. Shame about Ned Yost though, right? Okay, enough small talk. Still, if there's one thing for the Milwaukee organization to be proud of is that they fielded a playoff team and managed to sell almost 90% of their tickets for the year. This is a business after all, and with 3+ million fans coming through the turnstiles to cheer their team and drink some suds, Mark Attanasio should be saluted for making 2008 a success before the first playoff pitch is thrown.
How's that Ben Sheets-less starting rotation going to hold up? Yovani Gallardo, Dave Bush, and Jeff Suppan combined don't strike enough fear into the hearts of Phillies hitters as one CC Sabathia. In limited appearances, the Phils have merely a .568 OPS against CC. The Brewers need to push two Sabathia starts to the middle of the table and figure out a way to win a third game. Simple!
The Brewers corps of seven hitters (Braun, Fielder, Hardy, Weeks, Cameron, Hart, Kendall) have a tidy .797 OPS and 152 collective ding-dongs, but they have also combined for 772 strikeouts. I don't know what this means, but the Brewers scored a pedestrian 4.63 runs per game and have gone through stretches of the season where their offense was about as productive as a neutered labradoodle. That won't help against the Phils, especially if the lefty Hamels can figure out a way to shut down the righty-laden Brewers lineup.
Bullpen: Salomon Torres saved some games and blew others. He is by no means a shutdown closer dude but as long as his name doesn't rhyme with Schmeric Schmagne, he'll do just fine. The rest of the MIlwaukee pen? Yecch.
Manager: Dale Sveum should focus on not fucking up royally. He's just in the right place at the right time and will possibly never ever get another chance to manage a playoff team. Make the moves everyone is expecting you to make, Dale, and don't overwork Sabathia too much. Yankees pitchers and catchers report in four months!
Best possible outcome: Losing to the Cubs in a seven-game NLCS and shaming themselves with too much MGD Light. They can beat the Phillies in five but they don't have the wherewithall to topple either the Dodgers or the Cubs in a long series.
And yes, I'll be liveglogging the Phillies-Brewers tussle at 3PM sharp.