Sunday is Brewers' day in Wisconsin
Milwaukee has momentum, chance to even NLDS vs. Phils
MILWAUKEE -- The players within the confines of the Brewers' clubhouse may not want to hear about their 1982 brethren and that comeback from an 0-2 deficit to win the American League Championship Series over the Angels.But the fans who crammed Miller Park on Saturday night and waved white towels to their heart's content are certainly loving it.
With a Game 4 win on Sunday, the Brewers can tie the best-of-five series and send it back for a winner-takes-all Game 5 on Tuesday night in Philadelphia. How much attention will Sunday's game get? Well, the Packers are playing the Falcons in Green Bay at the same time the Phils and Brew Crew will be battling it out here. And which game do you think most fans are going to watch?"The Packers are huge in Wisconsin," Brewers infielder Bill Hall said after the Brewers beat the Phillies, 4-1, in Game 3 on Saturday night, cutting the deficit to 2-1 in the series. "But this is our Sunday." The Phils will try to prevent that by pitching right-hander Joe Blanton, a midseason acquisition from the A's, against Jeff Suppan, a free agent who was signed by the Brewers two years ago just for this type of occasion. And the Phils would like to point out to anyone willing to listen that they do have the lead. "I'm still pretty optimistic," Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard said. "We have to win only one game." There are those from Milwaukee's baseball past who will dominate the scene on Sunday. Commissioner Bud Selig, who founded and owned the team, will throw out the first pitch. Robin Yount, the Hall of Fame shortstop who played on the 1982 team, will be on the bench trying to aid manager Dale Sveum.
GAME 4: JUST THE FACTS
|Phillies starter: RHP Joe Blanton|
|2008: 9-12, 4.69 ERA (4-0, 4.20 ERA with Phillies; 5-12, 4.96 with A's)|
|2008 on the road: 5-3, 5.37 ERA (2-0, 4.96 ERA with Phillies, 3-3, 5.73 with A's)|
|2008 vs. Brewers: 0-0, 3.86 ERA|
|Career vs. Brewers: 0-0, 3.86 ERA|
|Career postseason: 0-0, -.-- ERA|
|Brewers starter: RHP Jeff Suppan|
|2008: 10-10, 4.96 ERA|
|2008 at home: 3-3, 4.36 ERA|
|2008 vs. Phillies: 0-1, 5.91 ERA|
|Career vs. Phillies: 3-6, 6.20 ERA|
|Career postseason: 3-3, 3.00 ERA|
|Phillies lead series, 2-1. The team that has won Game 1 of an NLDS is 23-3 in those series. On Saturday night, the Brewers became the fourth of 17 teams down 0-2 in the NLDS to win Game 3 and prolong the series.|
|Game 3: Brewers 4, Phillies 1|
|Did You Know? In 1982, when the Brewers came back from 0-2 in the ALCS to win three straight against the Angels and reach the World Series, the final three games were all played at Milwaukee's County Stadium. The format then was that the team with the better record played two on the road and then three straight at home. Now the format is 2-2-1.|
And these Brewers will be trying to script their own little piece of history. Since the Division Series were implemented in 1995, 18 teams have gone down 2-0 in the NLDS. Thus far none of them have come back to win a series. The Brewers, in fact, are only the fourth of the bunch to force a Game 4. None, obviously, have gone as far as Game 5.That little bit of data doesn't seem to mean much to these Brewers. "We've got to win three games, and we took care of one," Brewers infielder Craig Counsell said. "We still have our work cut out for us in a huge way. I just thought we played the way we wanted to play tonight. We had disciplined at-bats. We put the pressure on them offensively. Instead, the first two games were the other way around. "These games, you realize how important every pitch is, every situation is, every detail is. We've been playing these type of games for the last couple of weeks." The talk for days has been about how the 1982 Brewers arrived home from losing the first two games at Anaheim Stadium in the ALCS and came alive at old County Stadium, which once stood in what is now a parking lot adjacent to Miller Park. The names that year were Yount, Paul Molitor, Cecil Cooper and Don Sutton, as opposed to Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron and CC Sabathia now. The format was different -- the Brewers hosted the last three games of what was then a best-of-five ALCS -- but the objective is the same: somehow get to Game 5, this time with Sabathia on the hill against Game 1 winner Cole Hamels for the Phillies. "Most definitely," Cameron said. "That's what we're pushing for. That's what's in the back of our minds." First, though, they have to get through Game 4, and they seem to have the right attitude. "We came in today and were relaxed and ready to go," said Brewers Game 3 starter Dave Bush, who pitched into the sixth inning on Saturday night and earned the win. "We knew we were in a hole, and we had some tough games in Philly. We had a pretty tough month of September. We had to bounce back in plenty of situations. The way we looked at it was that we were just a three-game winning streak away from moving on." Now they're two wins away. The Phillies are one. How's that for drama? So forget the Packers game. Bring your towels and your voices to the ballpark. Sunday in Wisconsin is the Brewers' day.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.