MILWAUKEE — If you were expecting a let-down after yesterday’s frustrating 7-6 loss to the A’s, you may have been surprised to see today’s dominating performance by the Brewers.
“They got beat in a tough game last night,” manager Harvey Kuenn told the Milwaukee Sentinel, “and many people would expect them to come out flat. But each day they say today is the day and damned if they aren’t right.”
All-Star first baseman Cecil Cooper, who set a career best with his 26th home run, wasn’t surprised: “To put it simply, we believe we can win. We lose one or two in a row and it doesn’t matter. We know we can win.”
This was one of those total team wins that have transformed Brewers fans and casual observers into believers. Pete Vuckovich is established as the team’s sure-fire ace, and Mike Caldwell has carved out a role as the clear number two pitcher since Kuenn took over. If Bob McClure can have more performances like this one, the Milwaukee Brewers won’t just be a dangerous team. They’ll be a dominating team.
How great was McClure today? He threw eight no-hit innings, seven of which were perfect. The only three hits he allowed were all in the fifth inning. He didn’t walk anyone, but hit a batter. And he retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced, the one straggler being the hit batter.
To make this game even more one-sided, the Brewers mashed the ball on offense to the tune of eight runs on 17 hits. Ted Simmons, Cecil Cooper and Robin Yount combined for 10 of those hits while Paul Molitor, Roy Howell and Charlie Moore hit two each.
The A’s had no relief. They were baffled at the plate by McClure. They had no response to the Brewers on offense. It was complete team domination.
With a .594 winning percentage, the Milwaukee Brewers have the best record in all of baseball. If you listen closely, you’ll hear whispers from old Milwaukee fans who dare to compare this team to the World Series champion 1957 Braves.
Of course, don’t say that to Earl Gillespie, former voice of the Braves. Gillespie claims that the Braves were so much better than the current Brewers that such a comparison is laughable.
“He should know, I guess,” chuckled Kuenn. “He saw all the games.”
And maybe Gillespie is right. It’s too early to compare. There appears to be something special about this team, but until they make the playoffs and beyond there’s no reason to start the discussion.
Game Notes: Rickey Henderson missed his second straight game with a sore shoulder since breaking Lou Brock‘s single season stolen base record. … The second place Boston Red Sox beat the California Angels 9-3, keeping pace at 5 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the AL East.