BOSTON — Welcome to the most important week in Milwaukee Brewers history.
You could argue the final week of the 1981 season and the postseason series against the Yankees represented the most important week ever, but once you opened your mouth, I’d shake my head, look at you with pity, raise my hand and then put a finger to my lips… a clear sign you should shut the hell up.
It would be understandable for you to argue about last season and remember it fondly — a second-half AL East title, which gave the Crew its first-ever postseason appearance, and an MVP and Cy Young for Rollie Fingers — but last season was an aberration. With Bowie Kuhn exercising what he thought was Solomon’s wisdom by splitting the season in half, he turned a Major League season into one with a minor-league feel.
This season, though, if the Crew hangs on and wins the AL East in a full 162-game season, no one can point to it as a fluke. Winning a division — not to mention having an MVP candidate in Robin Yount and Cy Young candidate in Pete Vuckovich — after a complete slate, no critic can question that accomplishment, especially in that division with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and, the Crew’s nemesis for the week’s final season, the Baltimore Orioles.
A total of 140,679 fans saw the O’s take two of three games this past weekend from the Brewers at County Stadium. With a chance to put the Birds away, the Crew was outscored 12-4 in the final two games of the series and lead the Orioles by a mere two games with seven games — including four in Baltimore — to play.
Fortunately for the Brewers, who start a three-game series in Boston tomorrow, the Orioles are still on the road as they head to Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Granted, anything can happen in that bandbox and the Tigers are 13-and-a-half games out, but Brewers fans have to hope the Tigers’ pride comes into play.
It won’t matter, however, if the Crew doesn’t take care of business in Boston, which is seven games back. The Brewers have gone 7-3 and battered the Beantown nine for 66 runs in 10 games in ’82. Runs shouldn’t be a problem for Harvey’s Wallbangers at Fenway. The question is, as always, the pitching.
Doc Medich (11-14, 4.89), who’s scheduled to open the series tomorrow, has been wildly inconsistent. All you need to do is look at the numbers. The Crew may need to summon all their offensive firepower to offset Medich’s mediocre mix of pitches.
As bad as Medich has been, Boston starter Chuck Rainey hasn’t been much better. Rainey is 7-4 with a 4.80 ERA, but the Crew has tagged him for 16 hits and 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings in two appearances. Rainey hasn’t made it out of the sixth inning in either appearance.
Regardless, the Brewers need to get to Rainey early to give Medich some breathing room in the game, and themselves, in the AL East.
Game time is 6:30 p.m. CT.
So what do you think? Is this the Brewers’ most important week ever? Leave us a comment below.