Thursday, April 1, 2010

GAME 7

Merry Christmas from snowy Minneapolis and Game 7 of the 2010 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and your Milwaukee Brewers. Well, at least it seems that way when you look outside.

Tonight's game of course has been moved indoors to the Twins former home, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome due to the 23 inches of snow that has fallen on the Twin Cities over the past two days.  Forecasts for the next several days call for sub-freezing temperatures in the area.  After mulling it over the last three days, Commissioner Bud Selig has decided to move the game inside.

The Brewers, playing for their first ever World Championship, send ace Yovani Gallardo to the mound who finished the regular season 18-10 and topped 200 strikeouts for the second time in his young career.  Gallardo's stellar 3.35 ERA make him a leading candidate for this year's National League Cy Young Award.

The Brewers of course forced the deciding game tonight behind a 6-hit shutout by Ben Sheets in Game 6 who rejoined the Brewers in a late July trade with Oakland which sent lefty Manny Parra and catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the A's.  Sheets' 5-0 record in the stretch drive was critical to the Brewers playoff run who clinched the NL Central on the final Saturday of the regular season, finishing 2-games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals at 93-69.

Sheets wasn't the only story in the Brewers second half resurgence.  Skipper Willie Randolph replaced Ken Macha on June 25th after the Brewers were swept in a 3-game series at Miller Park by these same Twins.  The struggling Crew, 32-40 at the time and fifth place in the NL Central, turned things around instantly under Randolph's watch, winning the next 14 games in a row - a club record streak.  The streak included a 4-game sweep of the first place Cardinals in St. Louis which vaulted the Brewers back into the pennant race.  The streak also earned Brewers fans a free hamburger courtesy of George Webb's restaurant.  One Brewer fan brought to the giveaway a bronzed Webb's hamburger he got in 1987, the last time the Brewers had such a streak.

Rickie Weeks will lead off for the Brewers tonight.  Weeks' up and down season included a 20-game hitting streak and a 20-game stint on the DL.  Despite that, Weeks played in a career high 132 games in 2010.  Rickie has reached base in each of the Brewers post-season games so far.

Alcides Escobar bats second.  The stellar Brewers Rookie of the Year candidate was moved up to the #2 spot in the order by Willie Randolph and responded well, batting .346 in the September stretch run.  Sure to be a strong candidate for the NL Gold Glove at shortstop, Escobar is the next budding superstar in the Brewers lineup.

Ryan Braun bats third.  Braun had another amazing season, belting a career high 39 home runs to go along with his .336 batting average, good for 3rd in the NL batting race.  His 128 RBI placed him in the top three in each of the NL Triple Crown categories.

In the clean-up spot, as usual is Prince Fielder.  Fielder inked a 6-year, $146 million contract extension three days before the All-Star break.  He also won his second consecutive Home Run Derby at the festivities in Anaheim.  Fielder struggled late in the year, but returned to form when the Brewers needed him most hitting a dramatic two out, ninth inning game winning 3-run homer in Game 6 of the NLCS off Atlanta Braves closer Billy Wagner, sending the Brewers to their second fall classic.

In the fifth spot will be right fielder Jim Edmonds.  Edmonds seems a lock for NL Comback player of the year after hitting 16 home runs and batting .288 in 120 games.  He was inserted as the everyday right fielder in April, replacing Corey Hart who struggled miserably in Spring Training and was traded to the San Diego Padres for third base prospect Edinson Rincon only three weeks into the regular season.

Mat Gamel bats sixth for the Brewers and plays at third base.  Gamel's five home runs in three days during the Brewers winning streak won him the everyday third base job from Casey McGehee who struggled to a .226 average on the year.  In the field, Gamel didn't far as well, leading the team with 18 errors.

The Brewers designated hitter for Game 7 will be Jody Gerut.  Gerut played well in a part time roll for the Brewers belting 9 home runs to go along with a .287 average.

Grizzled veteran Gregg Zaun will catch and bat eighth.  Zaun has been struggling mightily down the stretch after being asked to carry much of the workload behind the plate for the Brewers this season.  Still he managed to work through the year injury free and handled the pitching staff well.

Carlos Gomez is in center field and will bat ninth.  The young Gomez led the Brewers with 32 stolen bases.  His inconsistency in the field cost him some playing time to Jody Gerut in 2010, but he had a solid if unimpressive season and is batting .310 in this World Series against his former team.

Except for Ben Sheets, the whole Brewers pitching staff will be available to skipper Willie Randolph tonight.  That includes Randy Wolf and Doug Davis who each joined the Brewers as free agents before the 2010 campaign and turned in identical 14-10 records.  Wolf had the better ERA of the two at 3.96; second on the team to Gallardo.

Finally here is closer Trevor Hoffman making his final stroll out to the bullpen.  Hoffman has said that he will retire after the 2010 season after putting in a workman-like 26 save campaign.  Cooperstown will be the next stop for Hoffman and he would certainly love to go there with a World Series ring.

On the Twins side, shortstop J.J. Hardy returns to the lineup tonight after asking for Games 5 and 6 off due to fatigue.  Hardy says he feels refreshed and is ready to go against his former mates.

Well we're just about set to go at the Metrodome.  Rickie Weeks steps into the batter's box and home plate ump Tim McClelland yells, "Play Ball!"

4 comments:

KL Snow said...

Yovani has one N.

Scott Segrin said...

Sorry. It's my Witradolexia acting up.

KL Snow said...

No worries. Great post: I'll admit, I got chills reading it.

Gregor said...

Now that's what heaven looks like. It'd be interested to see if the rest of the country would care to watch two mid-west teams go at it, though.

 
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