MILWAUKEE — Remember those four games in New York last week where the Brewers sustained three of their toughest losses of the season? Yeah, that’s kinda history.
Thanks to a nine-run eighth, the Brewers roasted the Yankees again to complete a three-game sweep in which they outscored humbled New Yorkers 34-5.
“This just shows we aren’t nervous,” said Gorman Thomas, who connected on two doubles and his league-leading 37th homer to lead the Brewers’ attack. “I know certain people have been saying that we’re feelin’ the pressure, that the noose is around our neck. This just shows we’re not feelin’ it. We know that pressure is put on yourself. There is no pressure at the top.”
It was merely a 5-1 Brewers lead until the eighth inning. The Brewers connected on seven consecutive hits (including four doubles and a home run) and eight consecutive baserunners before the first out was recorded by the third Yankees pitcher of the inning. Then, just as it seemed the Brewers would finally put the Yankees out of their misery, Gorman hit his two run homer.
The offense this season has been bordering on historic. The Brewers have a shot at becoming the first team since the 1936 Yankees to have five players drive in at least 100 runs. Cecil Cooper (114), Gorman Thomas (107) and Robin Yount (101) are already there, while Ben Oglivie (95) is certain to join them. Ted Simmons (86) is the only question mark.
Just as amazing, the top three in hits in the American League are all Brewers: Yount (194), Cooper (188) and Paul Molitor (183).
“It’s like trying to fight an octopus,” said Brewers starter Don Sutton, who missed the offensive barrage while he was icing his arm after coming out of the game. “You may be able to stop two, three or even four of the guys, but you know they’re never going to be able to stop them all. They just wrap those arms around you and you can’t shake loose from those tentacles.”
The Brewers may see the second place Orioles with the same level of frustration. Baltimore won again to remain two games back. The Brewers just can’t shake loose.
But now, of course, it gets interesting. Both teams have 13 games remaining, with seven games against each other. The Brewers next host Boston for three games before the Orioles come to town for three. Then it’s a brutal stretch to finish the season in which the Brewers play three in Boston and four in Baltimore.
This thing is far from over. It’s times like these that the Brewers need their closer, Rollie Fingers. He threw on the side again today, but without success.
“It was the same old thing,” Fingers said. “I stopped after 20 throws when the stiffness came. And the only good thing was I threw a little harder this time than [on September 17]. I had a little more velocity.”
Fingers will throw again in a couple of days. Doctors have said he’ll miss a minimum of six more games.
“It feels a little better every day but it’s slow,” Fingers said. “I am hoping to be ready by [September 24 or 25] for Baltimore. That gives me another six days.”
The team is 10-7 without Fingers in the bullpen, but the biggest test is yet to come.