Well that Dodgers series was…surprisingly not bad. I’ll admit to not being that optimistic about the Brewers’ chances in the series heading into Chavez Ravine, but those worries were calmed a bit when Manny Parra pitched so well in the opener (hey, sweep averted!). Those worries flared up again when Yovani Gallardo inexplicably struggled on Tuesday night meaning the Brewers would have to win with Braden Looper on the mound.
Luckily, Dodger Stadium is Looper’s kind of place. Having already given up a career high for home runs allowed (Rafael Furcal’s leadoff homer Wednesday made it 27 in 23 starts), Looper was able to recover from an early hiccup to throw what was possibly his best game of the season. Just like that, the Brewers walk out of California at 3-3, and head into Houston for a big series that could go a long way in getting back into the thick of the NL Central race.
I was unable to comment on the Fielder Fiasco in LA due to Internet connection problems, but here’s my (belated) two cents. While the whole thing might seem unusual or surprising to those who haven’t been following Prince Fielder since the day he was drafted, I don’t think many Brewer fans thought much of the incident. I can understand why it happened — Fielder and Ryan Braun have been plunked at an alarming rate this year as the team’s star players, and the Brewers are third in the majors in team HBP. Things have been frustrating for the Brewers lately, and Fielder’s always been one to carry that frustration on his sleeve — if he’s got a problem with you, he’s going to tell you…just ask Manny Parra.
Ironically, Fielder’s march to the Dodgers’ clubhouse came exactly one year after the much-ballyhooed dust up with Manny Parra in Cincinnati last season. The Brewers wound up going on a long win streak following that incident, prompting all the national experts to point to the incident as some kind of “turning point” en route to a fantastic month of August (and, as a result, a playoff spot — the Brewers would’ve been out of contention with that September slide if they didn’t play so well in August). I have a problem with those who point to incidents like these as “turning points.”
Fielder trying to kill Guillermo Mota (and really, what Brewer fan didn’t want to kill Mota at some point last season) isn’t going to spark this team to a huge winning streak. Even if the Brewers do make a surge, it’ll be the result of finishing the August schedule against Houston, San Diego, Pittsbugh, Washington, and Cincinnati. There wasn’t a lack of effort by the team’s offense during this mid-season skid — the pitching just stunk. So unless the rotation starts pitching better for fear of their large first baseman sitting on them, any “spark” would have to be considered coincidental.
On a side note, Fielder’s post-game tirade has prompted the Dodgers to up security in the stadium’s tunnels. For some reason it reminded me of the scene in “Happy Gilmore” where Adam Sandler is being lectured for breaking a rake over his knee and throwing it into the woods after missing a putt. Sandler responds by saying, “What? I didn’t break it — I was just testing its durability.”
So, there you go. Prince didn’t break through Dodger Stadium security, he was simply trying to test its durability, and helped make it a safer place for all players.
(I felt the Fielder/Braun punch out home run celebration was a fitting image for this post, isn’t it?)