Brewers looking to ride unique pitching scheme to World Series
MILWAUKEE — From Kenosha to Sheboygan, they are ready for the Brew Crew to finally get back to the World Series.
The Brewers have made it to only one World Series in their history and those American League “Harvey’s Wallbangers” lost in seven games to the Cardinals back in 1982.
Pitching has been redefined here, with the bullpen taking center stage this year — these Brewers are Multiple Mounds-men.
It’s a fascinating concept.
Now it is up to Craig Counsell’s “Out-Getters’’ to do what has never been done by the Brewers — win a World Series. The odds are against them. But that’s what makes this so much fun. That’s what makes these Brewers such a captivating postseason team.
Consider the Game 1 NLCS pitching matchup Friday night at Miller Park, a battle of lefties with ex-National Gio Gonzalez going against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers have the monster payroll and the big stars, including possible future Yankee Manny Machado.
The Brewers have patched together a remarkable team built around that incredible bullpen. The bullpen out-getters — a group that features Corbin Burnes, Corey Knebel, lefty Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress — have been terrific.
The Brewers believe and that is all that matters.
“We’re all human, so I am not saying we are going to be perfect every day,’’ Jeffress said on Thursday. “But we’re expecting a lot out of ourselves. We have no limits.’’
Will the NLCS prove to be their limit? And if the Brewers somehow get past the Dodgers, who took the Astros to seven games in the World Series last year, will the World Series prove to be their limit?
Gonzalez is the only Brewers starter since Sept. 4 to make it through six innings. The Brewers plan is simple, get as many outs as you can from your initial out-getters and then get the rest of the outs from your relievers, keep the pressure on with opponents knowing one strong arm after another is coming after them.
The plan worked perfectly in the three-game sweep of the Rockies, who scored two measly runs over 27 innings and batted .146 against the Brewers out-getters. It is a psychological advantage.
“Once we get past the fifth inning with a lead,” third baseman Travis Shaw said, “they know the pressure is on them. That’s a huge advantage for us.”
The fact the Rockies could not hit the Brewers out-getters should put more pressure on the Dodgers, who beat the young Braves in four games.
The Brewers also hope to make the most of home-field advantage just as they did against the Rockies. All fans are passionate, but Brewers’ fans really rally around their team just as they do around the Packers in this part of the country, and the players enjoy playing in this collegiate atmosphere.
“It’s a great feeling to know that the community is behind us, and the way we’ve played affects people’s lives, positively,’’ Christian Yelich said. “If we play well, then there’s a genuine happiness around the city, and you feel that as a team and you don’t take that lightly. Hopefully we can continue this run for the city and the state.’’
Counsell, 48, is as Brew Crew as you can get, having grown up here and played six years for the Brewers.
“It’s a thrill,’’ Counsell said. “Look, I think my idea after I retired was to be a part of this organization in any way I could, to help baseball in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin. I didn’t set out with a plan to become the manager or do anything else. I wanted to help. We’ve gotten to this day or this point, and so it’s pretty cool, for sure.
“But I do feel like baseball in Wisconsin and Milwaukee is part of my responsibility,’’ he said, “and the best reason to celebrate this for me is how you see it makes everybody feel and how we’ve been able to take our fans on a journey here this month, and hopefully find some new fans that are enjoying baseball.’’
Can this crazy journey of Counsell’s Out-Getters finally get the Brewers back to the World Series?
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