The entirety of the NLDS between the Brewers and Diamondbacks was torture. And it was awesome.
Welcome to playoff baseball, Milwaukee, and not the kind you saw in 2008. That year was different — the Brewers stumbled in September, righted themselves enough to go 7-5 under Dale Sveum, and snuck into October thanks to the Mets being the Mets. When Dave Bush somehow won Game 3 of the NLDS that year, that seemed like enough. The Brewers were the epitome of a “happy to be here” team that season.
This year, things were different from the start. While the 2008 Brewers were sub-.500 in October and practically backed into the playoffs, the 2011 Brewers never had a losing month. Just making the playoffs was enough in 2008. This year, everyone (fans, ownership, players) wanted — and expected — more.
That’s why there was a tension in this Diamondbacks series that wasn’t really felt in 2008. That’s why it was so much more entertaining and memorable. It was hell to sit through while watching it live, but nerve-wracking moments are the ones you remember the most.
The Brewers and Diamondbacks were evenly matched in just about every facet of the game. The yo-yo nature of the first four games shouldn’t have been unexpected, and really, it would have been a shame if Game 5 hadn’t provided some late-inning drama. Does the LDS win tell us anything about the Brewers that we can use going forward into the LCS? Probably not much, since five games is hardly a big enough sample to make serious predictions.
It was an incredibly fun series to watch, though — the kind of games that erases the line that sometimes develops between traditional or casual fans and saberheads and just turns everyone into “HOLY CRAP THIS IS AWESOME” baseball fans. That’s what’s so great about baseball’s playoffs. Luckily, Milwaukee gets at least one more series like that.