Despite Backs to the Wall, Crew Remain Calm
By Todd Welter
Next game: NLDS Game 3
How calm are the Milwaukee Brewers heading into Game 3 of the NLDS?
So calm that Jeff Suppan, tomorrow's possible Game 4 starter, was the player chosen to speak to the media in the pregame press conference. So calm that interim manager Dale Sveum admitted there was no need for one of those pregame win one for the Gipper type speeches.
You would not expect a team in an 0-2 hole to be so calm, especially with its struggles at the plate in this NLDS with the Philadelphia Phillies. Then again, the way this team has had to claw its way into the postseason, being calm is about the only emotion they have left.
"They know what they have to overcome right now just as well as what they had to overcome 11 days ago. They are in no different boat than they were 11 days ago," Sveum added.
The Brewers are still stuck with the reality that their magical season could come to a close in the first playoff game played in Milwaukee in over 26 years. The way this season has gone for the Crew it is just one more track on the emotional roller coaster this team has been on since the start of September.
"The emotional drain of it is definitely there," Suppan said. "How you deal with it is you recognize there is an emotional drain. You try to separate yourself from all the other things that are going on. You really try to focus on what you do as a player to go out and perform."
Making problems much worse for the Crew going into Saturday's game is that the Phillies will hand the ball to veteran Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71 ERA during the regular season). Moyer holds a 3-1 record in the playoffs with a 2.43 ERA. The old southpaw out dueled Ben Sheets in his only time he faced the Crew this season back on September 11 in Philadelphia. He pitched 5 2/3 innings in which he only gave up three runs in a 6-3 Philadelphia victory.
"Jamie Moyer has been that pitcher for us on close out day," said Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Dave Bush's right arm will be trusted to give the Crew a chance to live another day in his first ever playoff start.
"This is a new experience for me," Bush said. "All the hard work you put in all year is going to payoff. I've never experience it before so I'm looking forward to it."
Bush is 0-0 with a 5.88 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies. He has a 5.25 ERA this season against Philadelphia. Bush has been the only other Brewers' starter that has been consistent for Milwaukee outside of CC Sabathia down the stretch. He held opposing hitters to a .222 average in September and gave up 16 runs in six games he pitched.
If Milwaukee can hold off elimination and win its first postseason game since 1982, Suppan will start game four at Miller Park. Right now the team has to focus on Game 3 and that seems to have a calming effect for this lineup.