ANAHEIM, Calif. — Paul Molitor hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is the extent of your Brewers highlights for Wednesday night’s 4-2 Game 2 loss to the California Angels in the American League Championship Series.
Bruce Kison was on the mound for the Angels, a solid veteran hurler, but the type of pitcher these Brewers have mashed repeatedly all season long. Instead, Kison allowed only two runs on five hits while striking out eight in nine innings of work.
Meanwhile, the Brewers had the — reportedly — leading AL Cy Young candidate on the mound in Pete Vuckovich. Vuke was fine, but was far from matching Kison’s precision. Vuckovich pitched eight innings, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks.
Of course, the Brewers provided other moments for the highlight reel. Molitor also had a single. Yount had a single. Charlie Moore connected on two singles. And that… well, that’s it.
Wait, it actually gets a bit worse. The Brewers only managed five hits (four of which were singles), and they never walked once. Eliminating the final regular season win for a moment, the Brewers have scored 12 runs in the other five most recent games.
While the Orioles feasted during the first two innings in the final regular season series, the Angels have scored eight runs during the third and fourth innings so far, at least one run in each inning. Brewers pitchers need to find a way to get through the early stages of the game.
The Brewers now trail the Angels two games to none. Unlike the final Orioles series when the Brewers needed to only win one of four games to move on, Milwaukee is in a much more urgent situation this time around. Down 2-0, they must string off three consecutive wins. A feat, as Rob Peterson pointed out in today’s preview, that has never been accomplished.
“We had two losses to use up,” reflected Paul Molitor, “and both of them are used. “You simply can’t get any closer than this to saying hello to the offseason. We have to regroup, though we all know it’s a tough task to win three straight.”
Sure is. Especially considering this team has lost six of their last seven.
Luckily, the remainder of the series will be played entirely within Milwaukee County Stadium. The home fans may just provide that extra boost the Brewers need to get back into this thing. Though to be fair, their record at home this season (48-34) is nearly identical to their road record (47-33).
In other words, World Series plans need to be put on hold. At this point, I simply want the Brewers to win a game. One game. It’s not asking much. Give us something to be proud of.
Don Sutton is scheduled to be on the mound for the Game 3 match-up at 7:25 pm CDT in Milwaukee on October 8 after a day off. The Brewers offense will need to wake up against 18-game winner Geoff Zahn.
What do you think? Do the Brewers still have a chance to pull this out?
Injury Update: Prior to the game, there were rumors that Vuckovich may not be able to pitch due to a sore shoulder. He received a couple of cortisone shots for the injury, which manager Harvey Kuenn calls a “tired arm,” during the past week.
National League Championship Series: The opening game of the NLCS was stopped due to rain with one out in the fifth inning and the Braves leading 1-0. Only two outs from being official, the game was called after two hours and 28 minutes of delays. They’ll instead play tomorrow.