And what can we attribute this to? Well they have a three game set coming up against the NL Wild Card leading Colorado Rockies. As of today, they lead Atlanta by 2 1/2 games. The Rockies just finished beating the Cardinals 2 out 3 including a thrilling win this afternoon. Will the Brewers play over their heads and bring the Rockies down with them? Or will they play like a team that is 77-79 after 156 games?
Brewers 77-79 vs. Rockies 88-68
Narveson 2-0 3.82 era 110 ERA+ vs. Marquis 15-12 3.98 era 113 ERA+
The Brewers start Chris Narveson who's really only had a chance to start games in September. So far he's made the most of it. Narveson seems perfectly suited to play the spoiler role. He's been back and forth between Nashville this year, he struggled horribly his first time up and he's pitched his best ball in September. He's coming off his best start this year where he struck out 10 Cardinals.
The Rockies counter with Jason Marquis. He's a solid pitcher having a slightly better than average season. However, he's struggled in his career against the Crew going 5-8 with a 4.50 era in his career. Also, Craig Counsell has hit relatively well against him in his career. Does Marquis rise above this less than inspiring track record against the Crew or does he rise to the occasion and inch the Rockies closer to another playoff bid?
Suppan 7-11 5.04 era 84 ERA+ vs. Hammel 9-8 4.30 era 105 ERA+
If there's one Brewers pitcher who does not have it in him to rise to an occasion it is definitely Jeff Suppan. Allegedly he got paid a bunch because he got lucky and had a couple good weeks in the 2006 playoffs. Well, that Suppan didn't show up last year when he went 0-for september. His playoff expertise no-showed last year when he got rocked by the Phils. And it definitely didn't show up Thursday night when he was a batting practice pitcher for the Phillies. Point being, if there's one pitcher in this series least likely to contribute to the Brewers playing the spoiler role, it is Jeff Suppan.
The Rockies counter with Jason Hammel. Hammel got traded from the Rays straight up for a minor leaguer in April and has made the Rockies look smart by solidifying the back of the rotation. This is Hammel's first year pitching in the NL. It's tough to say much about how good he is against the Brewers (since he's only had one start....which he won). However, it doesn't matter too much since he's matching up against Jeff Suppan and therefore doesn't need to pitch that good to win this game.
Parra 11-10 6.16 era 68 ERA+ vs. TBD
If anyone's been the biggest embodiment of the Brewers struggles in the starting rotation this year, it's been Manny Parra. However, he also has the highest career ceiling amongst all starters not named Yovani Gallardo. If there's one Brewers pitcher who's just as likely to pitch a gem as they are to give up 10 runs in a game it's Parra.
Point being, Parra could go a long way to diminish the bad memories of this season by stepping up and putting a dent in the Rockies playoff hopes.
While this series would be a lot more fun if the Brewers were actually playing for something other than pride, if the Brewers play well in this series at least they can say that they had some impact on the playoff race by making the last weekend of this season a lot more interesting than it looked like it was going to be.