The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Something’s Brewing, pt. 4

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Despite this week’s two-game dip to the lowly Mets, there’s are a lot of reasons to love being a Brewer fan right about now.  The team bounced back from a 7-game skid to claim the wildcard spot, they’ve had recent success on the road (including 4 straight wins at Florida), and everybody is healthy.  This has translated to wins, wins, and more wins.  Starting yesterday, The Crew had the best record in all of baseball over the previous six weeks.  They’ve been fun to watch.

That’s all good, but it’s also all on the surface.  I have reason to be even happier when I look deeper, and I can point to two specific games.  One was two weeks ago when I made the trip to Miller Park to watch the Saturday game against the Giants.  Not only did I see an inside-the-park home run (only the second one I’ve ever seen live), but I got to watch the boys grind out a win against the defending world champions.  It was beautiful baseball all around; everything a fan loves to see, all the way down to the final play of the game.  With the bases loaded, one out, and the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Brewers executed a letter-perfect suicide squeeze bunt to seal the victory.  It’s something few managers ever attempt, and got me to thinking of the managers who would give it a shot.  The first that came to mind was Tony LaRussa, who is renowned for his ability to manufacture runs and will probably use a suicide squeeze 3-4 times this season.  But it’s also something that Mike Scioscia would use the same number of times, and even (I hate to say this) Ozzie Guillen.  What those three managers all have in common is that they’ve won the World Series, and they’ve done it in classic style:  get runners on base and move them over.  Heck, it even got me to thinking about my old favorite Earl Weaver and what he said about playing for one run:  Don’t do it unless that one run is guaranteed to win the game.  Crew chief Ron Roenicke is a branch off of the Scioscia coaching tree, so he’s pretty skilled in such tactics.  Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon is another branch from the Scoscia tree and has been successful.  If the Brewers coach can be mentioned and compared to so many other successful coaches, that is good reason to believe that he’s the right guy to be filling out the lineup card.

But that’s not it.  Roenicke pulled a move last Sunday against Florida that may keep me in his camp for quite some time.  It was almost exactly the same as the Giants game but that it was in Florida in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied and bases loaded.  Roenicke pulled Ryan Braun in from left field to act as a fifth infielder.  The pitcher forced a grounder to third that Craig Counsell was able to get to quickly courtesy of the position of Braun and the regular shortstop.  Counsell gunned down the lead runner at home.  The next guy flied out, and the Brewers got out of the inning.  They went on to win 6-5 in 11 innings.  I’ve never seen a manager try such a maneuver, though it’s not the first time Roenicke has done it this year.  He would have looked like an idiot had the ruse failed, but he’s looking pretty smart right now instead.

It’s these little things like the suicide squeeze and the fifth infielder that win games.  The later in the season, the more important the games become in the pennant race.  The Brewers are in the thick of things right now, and they need someone who can micromanage tough situations in important games.  I feel good about who they have.

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Written by seeker70

June 8, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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