Just last week on TO:SS, I suggested Craig Counsell was testing out a bullpen game and would likely employ it in the postseason. At that point I thought it would be for a Wildcard Game. It wasn’t. It was for Game 1 of their NLDS series against the Colorado Rockies. The strategy worked well in the regualr season and it was automatic in the postseason… until the ninth inning happened.
Through eight innings, the Brewers bullpen had given up two hits, zero runs, walked two batters, and struck out ten. The offense for the Brewers were surviving on a 2-run homerun by Christian Yelich. This was set up perfectly for Jeremy Jeffress to close it out.
The Rockies didn’t make it this far in postseason by being slouches. They rally for two runs off of Jeffress in the top of the ninth and are fortunate it wasn’t more. Jeffress somehow gets out of the inning with the score tied.
After trading nothing burgers in the bottom of the ninth and top of the tenth inning, the Crew had a chance to walk it off. No one better to start your inning off with than the MVP in waiting, Yelich. He gets on. Now you go to veteran the depth on your bench. Counsell calls Curtis Granderson’s number, and he delivers. Able to advance Yelich, Mike Moustakas comes to the dish. You know, the same Moose that has been to and won a World Series, the same Moose that is no stranger to ginourmous postseason moments like this. That guy.
Moose had a tough AB with Rockies pitcher Adam Ottovino. Had it not been for a foul tip that rimmed out of the glove of the Rockies catcher, the AB is over. Instead Moose gets another life and makes the most of it. A walkoff single that scores Yelich and the Brewers have a 1-0 lead in the series.
This was a snapshot of the Brewers season. They pick each other up and never give up. This is their 11th walkoff win this season. They are never out of a game. They do not fold. They are not scared of the moment.
An extra innings game on a bullpen day isn’t how you’d draw it up. You’ll take the postseason win anyway. It will be intersting to see how Counsell manages the bullpen in Game 2 later today. Starter Jhoulys Chacin (or initial out getter as Counsell says) may be asked to go deep into the ballgame. Six or seven innings perhaps, to give many of those arms some rest before a two day break between Games 2 and 3. Or maybe Counsell sticks with what got him here. Five innings and hand it over to that bullpen who have been lights out.
Last night sent fans everywhere through every emotion. This is what postseason baseball is all about. It rarely goes according to plan, but if you’re willing to keep fighting, good things tend to happen. The story of the Brewers season.