“F*** YEAH! F*** YEAH!” Nyjer Morgan yelled into the microphone for what was meant to be a post-game interview, which he then followed with “I GOT NOTHIN TO SAY! AHH GOTTA GO!”
TBS should have known better than to try to get Morgan, Friday night’s hero and forever’s legend, for an interview.
With Carlos Gomez on second and one out in the bottom of the tenth, Morgan transformed into legend Tony Plush and laced a single right back up the middle as Gomez came around to score the winning run. On to the National League Championship Series.
The Brewers held a 2-1 lead going into the ninth inning, but John Axford blew his first save opportunity since mid-April when Gerardo Parra scored on a Willie Bloomquist suicide squeeze. Axford then escaped a major jam, striking out Aaron Hill, inducing a weak fielder’s choice groundout from Justin Upton, then Henry Blanco rolled out to Yuniesky Betancourt. Betancourt out-sprinted Upton on a phenomenal play. But who cares about the blown lead? He was just setting up the stage.
After Craig Counsell lined out sharply to Upton to lead off the tenth off of Arizona’s JJ Putz, Gomez singled to left. Everyone in the raucous Miller Park knew what was to come: “Go-Go” would be stealing with T. Plush at the plate.
On what turned out to be a completely overlooked play, Gomez took off for second and Plush squared to bunt. At the very last moment, the Brewers center fielder pulled back, screening the catcher Blanco as the ball squirted away. Gomez reached second and the stage was set.
Putz threw a 2-2 fastball that Plush, or Morgan (you choose) laced back right up the middle. Putz had the only play on it, but a kick-save attempt failed. The speedy Gomez then beat out the throw from center fielder Chris Young as the celebration began.
Miller Park and the city of Milwaukee erupted and rejoiced as the Brewers won their first Playoff series since 1982.
To say the least, the Snakes are on a plan going home.
Arizona opened up the scoring on a solo homer from Justin Upton to the D-Backs bullpen in right field. The homer came two pitches after Milwaukee thought they were out of the inning on a supposed strike three.
Milwaukee tied up the score on a Jerry Hairston sac fly that scored Morgan. Second baseman Aaron Hill had to range to shallow right field to make the grab and his momentum was too much to overcome and Morgan tagged and scored easily. The lead then came in the 6th from an unlikely source.
After a Ryan Braun leadoff double, Prince Fielder walk, failed bunt by Rickie Weeks, and incredible catch by Young in center to rob Hairston of a bases-clearing double, Betancourt singled to center to score Braun. The oft-criticized Betancourt was in place to be the hero.
Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo consistently found himself in jam after jam, but escaped them all. With a pitch count of 112, Gallardo exited after six excellent innings of one-run ball. He gave up five hits, struck out five, and walked two. The only blemish on Gallardo’s line was the two-out homer to Upton.
D-Backs starter Ian Kennedy gave up two runs in six innings of work and was on the hook for the loss until Bloomquist’s safety squeeze tied the game.
Takashi Saito pitched a perfect seventh and Francisco Rodriguez escaped a nerve-wrecking bases loaded jam in the eighth.
Arizona third baseman Ryan Roberts, who hit the Game Four grand slam, came up and K-Rod had nowhere to put him. The mid-season pickup came through for Milwaukee, as Roberts grounded into a fielder’s choice, shortstop to second.
Immediately after the hit, Morgan gave the Beast Mode signal to Brewers players and fans. What a sight.
In the words of T. Plush “F*** YEAH!” ONTO THE NLCS!
Plushdamentals n. The fundamentals of the game of baseball taken to another degree. These include, in addition to the basics, scraped knees, run-over catchers, grass stains, bunting runners over, and stealing third. Because ya gotta be startin’ something.
Origin: c.2011, from Tony Plush referring to his style of baseball.
While describing Plushdamentals may be harder than out-running a horse or keeping your head during the French Revolution, it may be best to do so by referring others to watch the Brewers center fielder, Nyjer Morgan.
For a more in-depth view on Morgan and his alter ego Tony Plush, click here.
There are even shirts to tell you what Plushdamentals are, well sorta. Make sure you get yours.
By Curt Hogg
Coming off a three game sweep of the Pirates, Milwaukee hosts a four game series to close out the homestand against the 55-64 Los Angeles Dodgers.
Probables: Monday: Wolf (9-8, 3.48) vs Lilly (7-12, 4.71); Tuesday: Gallardo (13-8, 3.67) vs Billingsley (10-9, 4.17) Wednesday: Greinke (11-4, 4.08) vs Eovaldi (1-0, 1.64); Thursday: Estrada (3-7, 4.46) vs Kershaw (14-5, 2.72)
-The Dodgers just came off a three game sweep of the Astros.
Keep the Bottom Down
The top and middle of the Dodgers lineup can and will produce runs, with each of their 2-5 hitters hitting over .290 as of Monday. Of course, Matt Kemp is having a career season and will be the player to keep an eye on at all times.
But if the Brewers pitching can avoid trouble at the bottom of the order, they will be in a good position. LA manager Don Mattingly mixes it around at the bottom, so we may see an combiation of Aaron Miles, Casey Blake, Rod Barajas, Dee Gordon, Juan Uribe, James Loney, and Tony Gwynn in the 6-8 slots in the batting order.
As a team, Los Angeles ranks 8th in batting average, 13th in home runs, and 15th in runs scored in the National League.
Closing the Door
To put it plainly, the Brewers bullpen has been nothing short of dominant over this hot stretch.
Brewers relievers have not allowed a run in 16 2/3 innings, making it their longest such streak of the season. Hawkins, Saito, Loe, Rodriguez, and Axford can either lead the Brewers to a sweep or cost the team a game or two. In innings 7-9, the Dodgers hit only .241 and struggle in high leverage situations as a team. The bullpen may be the key to the Brewers’ success in this series.
For three entire months, it seemed Yuniesky Betancourt was the Brewers’ one liability. But ever since the All Star break, he’s been the team’s best hitter. Since the break, he is hitting .369 with 4 homers, 21 RBI, and 13 runs scored.
Ron Roenicke says that the turnaround came after he sat Betancourt for consecutive days in Colorado. Two days later, Yuniesky had a two-home run game in Arizona and hasn’t stopped hitting since.
If Betancourt stays hot against the Dodgers, they could be in for a long series at Miller Park.
The site is called Plushdamentals, named after Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan aka Tony Plush. Unpretentiously, it’s obligatory for me to post about the Plushdamental sightings throughout Milwaukee’s series across the MLB. So here goes nothing.
There were no Nyjer sightings at the dish on Friday, but he made his presence known in his only inning in the field. Entering the game in the ninth inning in left field, he made a great leaping grab at the warning track to end the game. When asked by Nyjer Morgan about the game and the catch, Tony Plush replied on Twitter that it was “Jus an all around great game fo tha Crew! How bout tha iceing on tha Cake! Nice Grab Plush!!! Aaaahhh”. Closer John Axford even chimed in, explaining that the bullpen displayed Plushdamentals by helping Nyjer out with the fly ball. Way to catch on, Johnny Boy.
Saturday night, T-Plush masterfully bunted for a single in the first following a Corey Hart leadoff base hit. Perfect example of Plushdamentals, and it paid off when Prince hit a three run jack two batters later to give the Brewers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The bunt, however, wasn’t his signature play of the game. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Milwaukee up 7-5, Lance Shuck of the Astros hit a liner off of Axford, who ensued to throw the ball away into right field. Schuck rounded second to stretch it into a three-bagger, but Nyjer Morgan was roaming in right field. He hustled over, and his post-game tweet explains the rest….”Wat issssssssss it Nation! They should kno betta not to run on Plush when he’s playing a corner outfield position! Aaaahh! Plushanomics!!!”
T-Dot mainly let P, Yuny B, The Kid Wonder (Luuuucroy), and Flip (his names for them) do the work at the dish while he made multiple running grabs in center.
AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH GOTTAA GOOOOOO!