In addition to being fan favorite during his eight seasons in Milwaukee, OnMilwaukee.com guest blogger -- and former Brewers third baseman -- Jeff Cirillo was a two-time all star and is the Brewers' all-time leader in batting average (.306). He also shares the major-league record of playing 99 consecutive errorless games at third base.
Cirillo, who now works as a post-game analyst for Brewers broadcasts on FSN Wisconsin, will offer his thoughts periodically throughout the post-season.
Here is ‘Rillo's take on the Brewers' 3-1 loss to the Phillies in Game 1 of the National League Division Series:
The Brewers don't make much contact.
I realize they were facing Cole Hamels and his filthy changeup but you can't really rely on home runs in the playoffs. Other than the series in Chicago and Cincinnati, the Brewers haven't been swinging the bats very well. They got two timely hits from Braun on breaking pitches to win the two games.
I hope they can make an adjustment quickly in today's game against Myers. He is a pitcher who relies on a pretty straight heater away and has a slightly above- average curveball. The Brewers faced him in the final game of series in Philly three weeks ago. He was good that day, but it wouldn't have mattered who was throwing that game. I hope the hitters take the approach of going the other way.
If you watched yesterdays game, 95 percent of the pitches thrown by Hamel and Brad Lidge were away. They don't want to pitch the Brewers inside. Guys like Cameron, Hart, Braun, Hall and Hardy -- these guys are all pull hitters who like the ball in the middle of the plate to inside. The adjustment needs to sellout to middle away and drive the ball to the right-center gap. This is easier said than done, but if they don't adjust and Myers hits his spots, it will be another long day for the Brewers hitters.
That being said, I did see the Crew make adjustments on Lidge today. They didn't swing at one slider down in the zone or off the plate. That tells me they were sitting on his slider. This is a good sign, as at times it looks as if they never come off the heater. Every hitter, except for Hart, took Lidge to 3-2 and Braun was looking slider was able to stay on the fastball and drove it to right. I don't have a problem staying on the heater, but you cant just sellout to it every pitch. Being a hitting coach must be stressful at times; putting all the work into scouting reports and then not see adjustments being made.
CC Sabathia goes again. I am excited to watch him attack these Phillies hitters, especially Utley and Howard. His slider, fastball are above-average big league pitches, but for me the pitch that has made him the best in baseball is his changeup. He has great arm action on it with the bottom dropping out of it.
When I faced him last season, it was his change that set him apart. Look for the Phillies to work his pitch count. The only problem with this game plan, as with all great ones, the first one is the one you want. He is in the same philosophy of most pitching coaches, throw a quality strike outside on the first pitch.
I really believe the Phillies will take the first strike the first time through the order, unless there are runners in scoring position. The Phillies have not faced him and I can tell you video doesn't do CC justice. His stuff is as good as advertised.
When I faced a pitcher for the first time I would always take the first pitch just for my own peace of mind. If I take one, at least I have the history of seeing one pitch from a guy I have never faced before. Now I have a scouting report.
I think we will see Durham and Counsell in the lineup for Game 2. The experience factor will be a big reason, but it would have been good to see Branyan on the roster, too. He didn't play much down the stretch but when the muscle is on, he can really make the lineup more dangerous. In May, when the team was under .500, it was Branyan who came up and put his stamp on this special season..
It's a must-win tomorrow as the Brewers' pitching might not be as deep as Phillies. The bullpen was fantastic today, Stetter and Parra against the big lefties and Villa against the rest. I would love to see the Brewers play more small ball with CC on the mound tomorrow and just work on scoring one run at a time instead of three at once.