The Brewers took the first two games of their best-of-five NLDS matchup with the Diamondbacks, but a series sweep was not meant to be. Arizona relied upon a pair of rookies, starting pitcher Josh Collmenter and first basemen Paul Goldschmidt, to keep their hopes alive for at least one more game, winning 8-1.
While the Diamondbacks were busy swatting away Milwaukee's brooms, Baseball Nation's writers were analyzing the action. Here are the highlights from the live blog:
• Pitching in the big leagues is hard, right? Of course it is. And yet somehow, Collmenter has actually improved on his minor league numbers since arriving, which Grant Brisbee found a bit odd:
Collmenter wasn't a heralded prospect before the season started -- he couldn't even crack Baseball America's list of the 30 best Diamondbacks prospects -- but he came up and threw strike after strike. His career BB/9 in the minors is 3.1. In the majors he lopped off more than a walk per nine innings.
That control put him in some rare company. There aren't a lot of rookies in baseball history who came up and threw more than 150 innings without walking more than two batters per nine innings. But though it's rare company ... it's also oddly nondescript company.
So who's on that list? You have to click through to find out!
In the bottom of the first inning, Willie Bloomquist got a single. Then he stole second base. This is because Willie Bloomquist is Tim Raines now. The Brewers had a detailed plan on how to pitch to Bloomquist, but an intern lost the index card.
Bloomquist scored on a Miguel Montero double to deep center that Nyjer Morgan couldn't haul in, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Rookie Paul Goldschmidt singled to the opposite field to score Montero, who beat Corey Hart's throw even though he was running on a pair of catcher's legs.
The funny thing is that Bloomquist was actually out, had the umpire made the right call. (If you own a TV, I'm sure you've seen the replay.) Either way, Arizona took advantage, scoring first.
• Have you ever wondered why Detroit's Comerica Park and Arizona's Chase Field have that little dirt path between the pitcher's mound and home plate? Rob Neyer explains.
• Slow and steady wins the race. Or something like that. From Brisbee:
Odd note from tonight: The two starting pitchers in the game have the third-lowest and seventh-lowest fastball velocities in the National League. Only R.A. Dickey and Livan Hernandez had slower fastballs in 2011 than Shaun Marcum, and Josh Collmenter's fastball averaged just .5 more miles per hour than Marcum's. There's a good chance that we won't see a fastball over 90 until the mid or late innings.
• Neyer's ode to Arizona's outfield. A finer defensive trio may not exist.
• Shawn Marcum gave up a grand slam to Paul Goldschmidt, which you've probably heard by now. But Marcum's reaction -- he knew he threw a mistake as soon as the rookie connected -- is just perfect:
Not to be lost, though, is Brisbee's analysis on Ron Roenicke's decision to walk the bases loaded to get to the slugging rookie. Smart move? In hindsight, of course not. But as Brisbee explains, you shouldn't need hindsight at all to make the right call.