MILWAUKEE — Brewers VP of Marketing Dick Hackett is trying to obtain a trademark for “Harvey’s Wallbangers.” Hold up just a second there, Dick.
The nickname is only two days old. The manager after which it is named has been at the helm for only five games. We all got a bit giddy in those first four games. But let’s pull back just a little on the enthusiasm.
Remember when the Brewers had an inconsistent offense, a pitching staff that couldn’t be depended on and a defense that made you cringe on every ball in play? You know, that team that we thought was dead once Buck Rodgers was fired? Yeah, that team came back today.
Orioles starting pitcher Jim Palmer, he of a 6.02 ERA prior to the game, threw 91 pitches en route to a far too easy complete game victory over those “Wallbangers.” While the Brewers did manage two home runs (Ben Oglivie and Robin Yount each contributed late inning meaningless blasts), they were able to connect on only five base hits all game.
Meanwhile, we thought that Mike Caldwell was a new man. Labeled as a “cancer” by his departing manager (whether he meant to peg Caldwell or not), he seemed reborn with a complete game victory in Harvey Kuenn‘s debut. Today, the Caldwell of old returned.
Havey Kuenn, loved for allowing his pitchers to fight through their own struggles, probably left Caldwell in too long. He allowed six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 before Kuenn finally put him out of his misery.
The bullpen was fine, allowing one run the rest of the way, but by that point it was too late. Caldwell had already given the Orioles a 6-0 lead.
Jim Palmer pitched a complete game. The same guy who isn’t speaking to the media because of rumors he’s on his way out of Baltimore. The same guy whose name has come up as potential trade bait for Bucky “Freaking” Dent, he of a .165 batting average. Awesome.
Okay, maybe I’m overreacting to one loss. But I can’t help but think we were overreacting to four wins. Can a manager really change a team that much?
I guess we’ll get a better sense tomorrow.
Game Notes: The Brewers are now 10-13 at County Stadium and 17-12 on the road this season … Cecil Cooper, who hit .476 with four home runs in six games last week, was named the AL Player of the Week … Pitching coach Cal McLish hopes to return to uniform tomorrow. He’s been suffering from myasthenia gravis, which affects nerve endings of the muscles … Three substitute umpires worked the game filling in for the crew that normally works with Lou DiMuro, who was killed when he was hit by a car yesterday in Arlington.