J. D. Thorne

Brewers Win Its 2014 Season World Series

In a previous column it was suggested that for the Milwaukee Brewers this is a season “on its head” with the equivalent of our World Series being played in the first six games of season.  This was because the Brewers had to avoid last year’s 1 win and 5 loss start with the schedule coming up the rest of April and early May where six games come against the National League St. Louis Cardinals and seven games against the 2013 season National League Central Division play-off contender Pittsburgh Pirates.  Guess what?  Brewers win – four games to two!

For MLB baseball play-off like intensity, it was hard to match the opening series at Miller Park against the Atlanta Braves.  The Brewers designated ace pitched magnificently to open the season.  My prayer was that he not try to throw a first pitch strike to the Braves first hitter.  The fear was that the Atlanta lead-off hitter might just be waiting for it, and pop a good pitch over the fences to start their season with a bang.  That would set a bad tone for the Brewers to overcome.  My prayer was answered when the savvy Gallardo opened with a pitch down and away for ball one.  I just knew the rest of the game would go well after that, and it did in a 2 – 0 victory. Now healthy again third baseman Aramis Ramirez supplied all the hitting required in two key at-bats.  This was a good thing because the Brewers dropped the next two games in close contests, but still could claim at least one victory in the series.

Then came the litmus test:  three games against the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park.  The Brewers players watched quietly from the dugout as the Boston players received their 2013 World Series rings in a dignified ceremony before the first game, as Marco Estrada warmed up.  The season, and our “World Series,” was on the line.  The team had to win at least one of the next three games at a minimum to be only two games under .500 to start the season in any manner of a salvageable way.    Lo and behold the Brewers sweep all three games demonstrating terrific starting pitching and timely hitting from everyone except star Ryan Braun, who reported a lingering sore thumb injury lingering even after a half of season of imposed rest to excuse his horrendous hitting start.

Then those lingering questions seem to be quashed in the first game of the next series against Philadelphia to mash their home opener after a day delay as our star rapped out three home runs in a 10 to 4 victory.  Apparently Mr. Braun had managed to make an adjustment in his swing which minimized the pain.  Let’s hope it works all season!   This saved a win for Kyle Lohse who managed to sneak through five innings with clutch pitching and a great defensive play by Ryan Braun to claim his first win this championship season.   This avenged his loss in the second game against Atlanta where he had pitched well enough to win but received no offensive support.

Now the Brew Crew has a four game winning streak – and confidence abounds!  Broadcaster  Dave Nelson said to the 350 faithful attending the “Old Time Ball Players Association” the Hot Stove League Jamboree at Serb Hall that his observation of the team is that if the club can remain healthy it will be competitive in the race for the play-offs, not merely 4th in the NL Central as most national “pundits” have projected.  The Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds are good clubs, but the Brewers can be in the mix.  “The Brewers just being better than the Cubs this year is not correct.”  I believe Dave is correct.

At least the team passed its first test this season.  Only 155 games to go for the Brewers’ fans next taste of real place Play-off Baseball.  Are you all with me on this?  Go Hank!