Game 5 of the NLDS between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks should be a dandy.
Both starters for todays game went in game 1. Yovanni Gallardo takes the mound for Milwaukee and Ian Kennedy is on the hill for Arizona. If need be, Zack Greinke and Daniel Hudson will be available for their respective teams in relief.
This game is going to be a battle. Both pitchers are precision guys. Don't expect a lot of runs today. Whichever team makes the critical error in the game will be the team that loses. This game will be decided by 2 runs or less and I can see the difference in this game coming from a defensive error.
The Brewers starting pitching, bullpen and hitting this year have all been good enough to carry the team on its own. The achillies heel of this team has been its defense. Jerry Hairston has been starting at 3B and is easily Milwaukee's best infield defender. Rickie Weeks has gotten better over the years, but he's still not solid. Prince Fielder and Yuniesky Betancourt are bad. Its a wonder that Fielder has made a living at 1B because at times it looks as though he's just flopping around out there on defense. Betancourt has been decent this year. The whisperings, when the Brewers aquired him in an offseason trade with Kansas City, were he was the worst fielding SS in the entire majors. That just has not been the case, but he's awfully close. Yet, a critical error from him tonight would not be a surprise. It seems as though he makes very tricky or difficult plays well enough. However, routine plays are the ones that give him the most problems when it comes to making errors. Betancourt (21 errors) finished with the 3rd most errors during the regular season among all positions in the entire NL. Fielder was 9th among all positions and led the NL at his position (1B) with 15 errors.
The difference between errors in a 162 game season and the postseason is that those mistakes can be diluted over the course of a season. In a playoff game, the magnitude of an error is ten, twenty times worse.
If the Brewers become the first team in the history of the MLB to lose a 5 game series after being up 2 - 0, it will not be because of SP Gallardo. It will not be their relief pitching and it will not be because of the offense; who is facing a Cy Young candidate in Kennedy.
If they lose tonight, it will be because of some defensive error, which will compound and manifest in the most important game of the season. If Milwaukee tightens up, plays a clean game, they should come out of this with their 60th win at Miller Park in 2011 and move on to the NLCS.