ST. LOUIS — There was rain. There was mud. The only thing missing from this one-sided battle was blood.
After two stoppages totaling two hours and 39 minutes in rain delays, the St. Louis Cardinals finally put the Brewers out of their Game 6 misery by winning 13-1. It was torture to watch.
Here’s hoping the Brewers pull out Game 7 to win the World Series. Then, and only then, will I be able to forget this debacle.
If the Brewers win Game 7, Tuesday’s game will be something we smile and laugh about. It’ll even be a game pushed entirely out of our memories. “Remember Game 6 when the Brewers embarrassed themselves and their fans with an all-around pathetic display in the midst of more than two hours of rain delays?” Nope. Don’t remember it. I just remember running naked around the neighborhood after the big Game 7 win.
It shouldn’t have been this way. The Brewers were coming off of two emotional victories that gave them a 3-2 series lead. They had a day off to rest their weary. They had Don Sutton on the mound, the man who so many times during the past month and change has saved their season.
For the first time since his acquisition, Don Sutton was awful. In a game that the Brewers desperately needed a complete or nearly complete effort, Sutton went only 4 1/3 innings before turning it over to the bullpen. By the time he handed the ball to Harvey, his team had a seven-run deficit.
“I have no excuse,” said Sutton. “I was sitting in the clubhouse icing my arm trying to think of one but there are none.”
We don’t care about excuses, Don. We just want wins.
Meanwhile, rookie John Stuper pitched a complete game, allowing only four hits. The only run scored on a wild pitch in the ninth inning. The performance was all the more impressive given that it covered nearly five hours, including the rain delays.
Jim Slaton and Dwight Bernard were solid in relief for the Brewers, as they and the rest of the bullpen have been all postseason. But Doc Medich, who is more accustomed to the work of an ineffective starter, gave up the remaining six runs in two innings of work.
In Game 5, Mike Caldwell and the Brewers held the Cardinals to four runs even though they mashed out 15 hits. St. Louis was much more efficient in Game 6, scoring 13 on 12 hits. Of course, four Brewers errors tended to help. Robin Yount and Jim Gantner each committed two, and Gantner tied a World Series record (also held by Honus Wagner) with at least one error in four straight games.
Those four Brewers errors led to four unearned runs. The Brewers defense has committed at least one error in all but the first game of this World Series, flubbing 11 over the remaining five games. Going back to Game 4 of the ALCS, the Brewers have committed 17 errors in eight games.
You want to prevent the opposition from scoring 13 runs, and the pitching and defense were not up to that challenge. But when your offense is set down in order five times and reaches on only four hits, you’re not going to win many games. Actually, you shouldn’t win any games.
The cowardly retort would be to blame the rain. Don’t blame the rain. The Brewers were already down 7-0, the game well out of reach, when the tarp first touched the infield. No, this was a full team effort. A colossal failure in every respect.
Paul Molitor (1-for-4) and Robin Yount (0-for-4 and two errors) didn’t contribute much in this game. But it’s tough to blame two players who are batting .326 and .366 respectively in the playoffs. And Charlie Moore is hitting a surprising .389 while Jim Gantner hits a respectable .270 (though his defense certainly isn’t helping).
It’s everyone else in between. It’s amazing we’re still in the position to win a World Series title when Cecil Cooper is hitting .222, Ted Simmons is hitting .189, Ben Oglivie is hitting .184 and Gorman Thomas is “hitting” .108. Essentially, the Crew’s only chance of scoring starts at the bottom of the order. Not how they drew it up.
And Harvey. Please, Harvey. Don’t play Roy Howell in Game 7. The bearded wonder has yet to collect a postseason hit.
“Everybody always wants to see the World Series go 7 games,” claims manager Harvey Kuenn. “So now everybody should be happy.” I don’t know who these people are who want a Game 7, Harvey, but they aren’t Brewers fans.
We’ll have Vuke on the mound for that seventh game, and I don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse. He’s the possible AL Cy Young winner for the regular season, but Pete Vuckovich hasn’t won a big game since Sept. 20 in Boston.
Maybe he’s due? Oh, is he ever.
I tend to overreact. What are your feelings about this loss and the prospects for another final game win?