Who has the edge between division rivals?
By Cam Cain 10-8-11
Last night, approximately 8:15. Brewers CF Nyjer Morgan steps up to the plate in the bottom of the 10th. Speedy Carlos Gomez on first. One out. Following a passed ball, Gomez is on second. Everyone in the stadium knows what’s running through the mind of the anxious batter. So when Morgan took a 2-2 J.J. Putz pitch and drove it up the middle, scoring Gomez, it was the perfect ending to a perfect evening in the Cream City. The Brewers had not won a playoff series since 1982; the Robin Yount days, the County Stadium days, back when they were in the American League. The Angels were their victim; the California Angels! But that is the past. “The fans deserve this because they haven’t seen it since ’82” said Prince Fielder following the game. Morgan also doubled and scored in the 4th. The win did not come easy, however. Closer John Axford blew a 2-1 lead in the 9th and had his first blown save since April. He pitched a 1-2-3 10th and came away with the win.
And on the other end, the team Milwaukee will be facing had a much more difficult path even to get the wild card. At one point, the St. Louis Cardinals were 10.5 games out of a playoff spot. The valiant Cards beat out the Braves for the final spot in the playoffs in game 162; and then had to play the 102-win Phillies with their 4 aces in the NLDS. But the never-say-die Cardinals never said die and fought their way into a game 5 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, where former Blue Jays teammates and close friends Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay, currently aces of their respective teams, squared off in the deciding game.
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the first and it was all they would need. Carpenter tossed a 3-hit shutout in the 1-0 victory.
“It was some kind of fun” said Carpenter following the game.
To many, this is a huge surprise. Most thought that Philly would cruise their way by St. Louis and onto a second World Series win in 4 years.
“I know that we’re capable of going farther in the playoffs,” said manager Charlie Manuel. ” Our goal was to get to the world series. It’s been that way for two years now.”
This year’s NLCS will be a rematch of the 1982 World Series, back when the Brewers were an American League team. The Cardinals won in 7 games. The Brewers have never made a World Series before or since.