It's been a long night and a long few weeks but before I grab a few hours of sleep, I wanted to take a moment and share my very quick observations on the National League playoffs.
I'll have a full breakdown of the Brewers 2011 season, both regular and postseason, in the coming days. The one thing, though, that sticks out most in my mind right now is how badly the starting pitching failed.
Rebuilding the rotation was the No. 1 mission for Doug Melvin last winter. And he came through in a big way. Pitching was the Brewers' greatest strength in the regular season and it stood to reason that it would be the reason they'd get to the World Series.
But aside from Yovani Gallardo, who was far from perfect himself, and Randy Wolf in Game 4 at St. Louis, the starters just never showed up.
But the Cardinals were just incredibly hot, and they had been since late August. What they've managed to do over the last few weeks is amazing. They'll have their hands full with Texas in the World Series, but having home-field advantage should help the Cardinals.
And while we're talking about the NL champs, this analogy has kept popping into my head, so I thought I'd share.
The Cardinals got hot late in the season and needed a victory in the season finale to clinch a playoff spot, then had to go to Philadelphia to knock out a higher-ranked team before having to face a divisional rival and the division champ on their own turf in order to advance to the championship.
Does that scenario remind you of any other team?
The Packers earned their playoff berth on the final day of the season, then upset Philadelphia, on the road, in the first round of the playoffs. After Green Bay took care of Atlanta, the NFC North champion Bears were next and Green Bay handed Chicago a loss at Soldier Field to move on to the Super Bowl.
Adding to the similarities, the Cardinals will now face the Texas Rangers while the Packers beat Pittsburgh for the championship ... but in Dallas.
OK, so maybe it's a bit of a stretch. But you have to admit, it's an interesting parallel.
On that note, it's nap time. I'll have a lot more on the Brewers later today and throughout the week.