Over the past three days, some of us Brewer fans might have suffered from a mini panic attack. Milwaukee was swept by the one team I'd rather not see sweep the Brewers...the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a series in the which the Brewers could've essentially seized the Central Division and put the Cards in their rear view mirror, but instead St. Louis is now seven back in the loss column and the Brewers' magic number remained at 18 for three consecutive days. But there's no need to fret. Get this: if the Brewers play .500 baseball the rest of the way, the Cardinals would have to go 20-5 just to tie Milwaukee. And if that doesn't make you feel any better, the Brewers have a chance to get back on the right track this weekend before heading to St. Louis next week by playing a 3-gamer against the lowly Astros. In my mind, the Brewers need to take this series, or else they could be staring at a suddenly minuscule lead with plenty of baseball yet to be played. The Brewers combined poor defense with poor starting pitching and poor clutch hitting in the 3-game series against the Cardinals, things we weren't accustomed to seeing over the past month or so. For now, the Brewers still hold a 7.5 game lead and all of the winning the Crew did over the month of August paid off so that such a large margin could still be in hand. Now it's time to take down the 'Stros and get our swagger back.
I'll update as I go since I'm currently watching the series opener of the Astros/Brewers' series, but if things stay as they are right this very moment, the magic number for the Crew will drop to 16 and Milwaukee will extend their lead to 8.5 games. For the first six innings of this game, the Brewers' offense once again failed to adjust to facing a pitcher they had never seen before and Zack Greinke had somehow managed to only give up two runs despite clearly not having his best stuff. With the Brewers down 2-0 in the top of the seventh and two men down, guess who stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter...Mr. Taylor Green himself. Green, who got a hit in his first career major league at-bat earlier in the week, did an amazing piece of hitting and poked one out to left to keep the inning alive. Three hitters later, Ryan Braun was driving in two runs (and getting in another rundown...this one not as depressing as Wednesday's) and the Beermakers all of a sudden found themselves up 3-2. The man who pinch ran for Green, Logan Schaefer, is a player who I thought would get the call-up in September and he did a great job running the bases to eventually score on a wild pitch. Schaefer isn't someone I've talked as much about because of how loaded the Brewers are in the outfield, but he is definitely someone to keep an eye on to get some pinch hit opportunities and perhaps even make the big league club next season depending on what happens during the offseason. Sit back and relax as we watch the legend of Taylor Green grow right before our very eyes. Meanwhile, the Brewers have held on to win after a clinching 2-run blast and a four hit game from King and the Reds managed to knock off the Cards. Magic number = 16, and that's all that matters.
Speaking of the growth of a legend, anybody catch that Badger game Thursday night? Russell Wilson and Montee Ball completely dismantled the UNLV defense and when all the dust had settled, the Badgers had won 51-17 without scoring any points in the final quarter. I'm pretty sure most of us knew coming in that this game wouldn't be much of a contest and that Wisconsin would come out on top, but this game wasn't in doubt after the first quarter. Wilson gave Badger fans a taste of something they have never seen before out a Mad-town quarterback when he scampered 45 yards into the endzone in what was the exclamation point Thursday night in Madison. It became not so exciting to watch after halftime with the starters being pulled and the Badgers failing to move the football anymore and I found myself watching the end of the Packers' final preseason game instead. Therefore, this dominating performance by Wisconsin was nice and might get people really jacked up about Wilson and the two-headed monster in the backfield, but there is still plenty of room for improvement for the Badgers...especially on the defensive side of the ball, which simply made up for any miscues they made by using their superior size and speed. Feel free to add Wilson and Ball to your Heisman watch lists, but what I'm really waiting for is the October 1st (my Birthday!) matchup at Camp Randall against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. For the time being, I'm treating these non-conference games like the NFL pre-season and therefore will halt my Badgers' recap.
Speaking of the pre-season, the Green Bay Packers wrapped up their pre-season with a game Thursday night, a week away from the season opener against the New Orleans Saints, against the Kansas City Chiefs. I didn't catch too much of it because of the Badger game, but if there's anything I took out of the happenings at Lambeau last night, it's that our backups can hang with several NFL teams, including a team like the Chiefs who just happened to make the playoffs last season. With the Chiefs keeping several of their first team players in for the duration of the game and compiling about 400 more total yards than Green Bay, the Packers still managed to win by one in a fairly entertaining final quarter thanks to doing what the defense does best...force turnovers. Five in all. One guy that got me all kinds of excited was undrafted rookie and outside linebacker Vic So'oto. Not only is this dude's name legit, so is his play on the field. A former defensive end for BYU, So'oto was making plays all over the place in the final two games of the pre-season and looks poised to earn a spot on the 53 man roster. The final cut is on Saturday and several guys are on the bubble, including players like wide receiver/return man Chastin West, tight end Ryan Wilson and fullback Quinn Johnson. We'll see if there are any surprises once it's all said and done, but now that the exhibition season is wrapped up and I've gotten a taste of real football with the Badger game yesterday, my mouth is watering for what will take place next Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
In my next post, I'm thinking I might have some fun and do my over/under guesses on how many wins each NFL team will post this season along with an actual record prediction. I'm debating on whether or not I'll post my picks against the spread each week like I did with Kyle last season, but if the people speak, I'll continue with the tradition. And just like last year, I'll periodically give an update on how fantasy football is going. Speaking of fantasy, I'm currently in the semi-finals in both of my fantasy baseball leagues, so should I reach the finals and even perhaps win, you'll be sure to hear about that because nothing is more fun than tooting your own horn. With school about to begin once again here at UW-Oshkosh, the blogging will probably become a little less prevalent than what it was this summer, but I'll do my best to get on here as often as possible to spit sports knowledge on everyone, especially with the excitement buzzing around the three teams currently in session.
Get psyched for football, but keep the Brewers at the forefront of your hearts. I know I will.