Monday, August 22, 2011

I Am Really Enjoying This


When the Brewers were making their playoff push in 2008, making the postseason was the goal. Whatever happened after that was gravy, all that we as fans wanted and it seemed like all that the team really wanted was to make the playoffs for the first time since 1982. Milwaukee did make the second season that year, and it was a great time to be a Brewers fan.

But this year couldn't feel more different. As in, things feel even better this time around. The biggest reason is because this is not a team that is going to settle for just making the playoffs. Or winning their division. Or winning a playoff series. This is a team that wants to win the whole damn thing, and I think they just might have the squad to pull it off. They aren't relying on one pitcher to get them there, but rather they have a staff full of guys that can go out and give you six or seven innings with ease. The bullpen is rock solid. The offense is on fire, and that's without a soon to be returning Rickie Weeks. It's a team that is three years more experienced than the 2008 version, and one that seems to have a lot more confidence and swagger than I've ever seen in a Brewers team. Heading into Monday, the Brewers are working on a 22 out of 25 game winning clip, and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight.

This is a Brewers team that is constantly finding different ways to win, and are using different players along the way. Against the Dodgers in Miller Park, you saw a series in which the Brewers used pitching and defense (including a triple play in one of the matchups) to earn the series victory. You had Mark Kotsay coming through with a walkoff run on a pinch hit. You had Jerry Hairston Jr. cementing himself as the backup second baseman (farewell, Felipe Lopez). And you had John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez prove they might be the best back end of a bullpen in the league.

They took that momentum and keep it going in New York, where the Brewers found themselves picking up a sweep on the road. The game that sticks out the most for me has to be the Saturday matinee in which the Brewers blew a 7-1 lead only to come back and win the game 11-9. That was a game that really showed me that this is a team that can win any kind of contest, and they don't let themselves get too down if they've blown a lead. They also don't let themselves quit if they're down two runs in the ninth. Plus, I was starting to convince myself that the junkyard fire behind Citi Field was going to act as a jinx for the rest of the Brewers season, so I'm even more pleased they were able to win that game so that my insane theory could be put to bed and quickly.

As of this posting, the Brewers have started their doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they currently sit at 8 1/2 games up in the NL Central. There's a lot of baseball yet to be played, but everytime I think about where the Brewers are at in the standings I just can't believe. There is a chance that at the end of the night on Monday the Brewers could be up a full ten games. And worst case scenario, they are up just seven. That's still a weeks worth of games, which still fascinates the hell out of me.

It's a time unlike any other that I can remember in Brewers baseball (my lifetime at least), and I'm happy to go along for this ride as long as the Brewers can keep it up.

POTGs for the week, day by day: Jerry Hairston Jr., Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Marco Estrada, Prince Fielder, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun

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