Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NL Round 1 Recap by cebola

In game of Milwakee's series against Chicago, the Boomers got a Cy Young caliber performance from award-hopeful "Don" Juan Bennett, as he gives up 3 hits in 7 scoreless in the 3-1 win. Fireman of the Year "Hit Me" Chief Lecroy survives a shaky ninth for the save, as slugger Lew Allen's sac fly was just a few feet short from being a game-tying homerun. 48 HR-guy Juan Alarcon got the scoring started with a solo shot in the 3rd and the Boomer never looked back.

The scoring was fast and furious in game 2, as the lead changed three times in the first three half-innings. Lew Allen had a two-run double in bottom one, but Milwaukee answered with 3 in the second on a Miguel Cruz 2-run double of his own, and a run-scoring single by Pablo Diaz. Both Stu McCurry and Sam Montgomery settled down as it stayed a 4-2 game through 6. Milwaukee broke through against Monty in the 7th with solo shots by Alarcon and Phillip Morgan. McCurry got two more scoreless innings under his belt for a total line of 7 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs and 12 K's in earning the win

With their season on the line in game 3, Chicago got single runs in each of the first three innings to take the early lead. Allen again was the instigator with an RBI single and a solo HR. But Milwaukee turned on its power game and got homers from Alarcon (again), Cruz and the big lead-changing 2-run blast by Alex Colome off loser Danys Hernandez. Vet York Harris settled down after the rough start to earn the series clinching win, and LeCroy registered his 3rd save of the series. Milwaukee continues their quest for the title with a series against Tampa.

Miguel Cruz egdes out Alarcon for series MVP honors by virtue of his .375 BA, 4 runs and 3 big RBI.

Chicago should be proud about another great season. They once again won the division, this time with all three rivals turning on the heat. Langer keeps hinting that he may be in rebuilding mode sooner rather than later, but I'm betting he once again finds a way to stay in the mix next season like he always does. Great job.

The only series in round one that went longer than the minimum was a great series and also had the most drama. In Tacoma's 7-5 game one victory, Burlington's starter Gustavo Mateo got lit up for 7 runs in 4 and two-thirds. Larry Kile game in to shut the door with 4 and a third of scoreless relief, but it was too late. Tacoma built a 7-0 lead through 5, and survived a scary ninth which saw Burlington put up 4, but the final rally was again too late. Tacoma starter Mariano Padilla goes 8 strong for the win, and stud closer Howard Taylor puts out the fire by getting the final out for the save. Ellie Leach sparks the offense by hitting a homer and driving in 3.

Game 2 was 3-3 through 6 with Tacoma getting a pair of RBI singles from Eugene Moreno (why can't my Tampa team get guys like this?). Burlington got an Abraham Matthews HR and a Graham Oliver RBI double. Tacoma's Greg Sweeney walked the tight-rope all night, allowing 14 baserunners through 6, but it was good enough to earn the 4-3 W, as Burlington strands 9, hits into 4 DP's and gets a runner thrown out at home. Leach provided the lead changing solo HR in the 7th.

The real fireworks started on the off-day however, as Burlington owner tmantom pays tribute to George Steinbrenner by publicly threatening to blow up the team this off-season if they lose the series. The Huffington Post (print edition) even reported that the bench coach J.P. Fernandez could be fired mid-series! This strategy seemed to work as the Booya used this bulletin board fodder as inspiration to take games 3 and 4 to tie the series.

With their backs against the wall, starting pitcher and team leader Cam Lewis layed it all out for his teammates and owner by striking out 10 in 7 scoreless innings to earn the 1-0 win. Tacoma starter Wladimir Ontiveiros was up for the task as well, as he threw 7 innings of 4 hit ball, but the run scored on a first-inning error by Art Krauss held up for the Booya. Krauss had a chance to redeem himself with ducks on pond in the 6th, but fanned to end the scoring chance. They had an equally good chance in the 7th, but a GIDP by Moreno killed a potential rally and they ended up leaving the bases loaded.

Game 4 was tied 2-2 through 4 until Burlington got a big 2-run single from Dioner Moreno in the three run fifth. Winning pitcher Donte Zoltan and relievers Andruw George and Kenta Itou made that lead hold up in the 7-4 victory. Sandy "Center" Fielder scored 3 and knocked in 2.

Game 5 saw Tacoma knock around game 1 loser Mateo again, scoring 5 runs on 11 hits against him. Kile couldn't stop the bleeding this time, as he surrenders HR's to Darren Furguson and Krauss in the 8th to help create an unsurmountable 8-2 defecit. Eugene Moreno again had a couple of RBI hits and Krauss scored 4 and knocked in 3 in the series clinching win. Mariano Padilla takes home MVP honors for winning two games in the series, including a CG in the clincher. Tacoma goes on to face St. Louis in the next round.

Despite Burlington's disappointment in losing the series and threats to break up the team, I believe the Booya will be back mostly intact for another ultra-competive season in 22. They have demonstrated a tremendous passion and commitment to winning. Congratulations on a great season!