"...we wouldn't have been here without you."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke says he has no regrets about going with struggling starter Shawn Marcum in the sixth and deciding game of the National League Championship Series Sunday night at Miller Park.
Roenicke had options: lefty Chris Narveson or Yovani Gallardo who would've been going on three days' rest.
Gallardo was never a Roenicke option, and Narveson turned out being the skipper's Plan B in the event Marcum flamed out early. Flame he did, with Narveson pouring gas on the fire as the Cards prevailed 12-6 to win the National League pennant.
The second-guessing would be even more ferocious had Narveson gone out there and shut St. Louis down. As it is, there are many in Brewers Nation wondering "what if" when it comes to Gallardo game six start that never happened.
Roenicke took Marcum at his word when the he said he was up to the task. Marcum earned Roenicke's trust. For whatever reason--injury, fatigue, loss of concentration--Marcum wasn't the same pitcher he was at the start of the season.
Columnist Landon Evanson offers up a little refresher course on the history of the 2011 Milwaukee season and the part that Marcum had in making it what it was:
The deciding game of the National League Championship Series began with a look that closely resembled that of Game 4 of the 1993 World Series. There were early homers, pitching changes and runs galore, but in the end, Shaun Marcum could not regain his first-half form and the Brewers watched the Cardinals celebrate in their own backyard.
Marcum’s post-season struggles have been well chronicled by the likes of Jayson Stark and Kevin Glew among others, and though said hardships appeared tantamount to sabotage, Brewers fans would do well to remember a few bits of information.
When Zack Greinke began the season on the shelf and Yovani Gallardo experienced early ups-and-downs, Marcum was every bit the reliable, steady presence who took the ball every fifth day.
Marcum won 13 games and led the NL in road ERA (2.21), so despite the fact that he basically served as batting practice for the D-Backs and Redbirds over the past couple of weeks, Marcum had a little something to do with Milwaukee’s most magical season since Harvey’s Wallbangers in 1982.
Getting back to that ’93 Fall Classic, I recall Milt Thompson commenting that after Mitch Williams surrendered Joe Carter’s walk-off shot to win it all for Toronto, the Phillies outfielder walked over to Williams, gave him “a big hug” and said “You know what? We wouldn’t have even been here if it weren’t for you.”
Without Marcum. the 2011 Brewers never would have had a shot at disappointment in the first place.
Sometimes you run out of bullets, not heart.