The book has officially closed on the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers. The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 6 of the NL Championship Series 12-6 and will go on to face Texas in the World Series, while the Crew will spend the winter reflecting on their disappointing finish.

The big topic for weeks to come will be the decision by manager Ron Roenicke to start pitcher Shaun Marcum. Suffering from heavy late-season fatigue, Marcum served up 4 runs in the 1st inning, his only one of the game. The first batter provided optimism for his performance, miserable in his last two starts, but it slipped from there. A 3-run homer proved to be the dagger.

The Brewers didn’t go quietly. Corey Hart lead off with a solo homer, and after falling 5-1, Milwaukee jumped right back in the 3rd. Rickie Weeks hit a solo home run while Jonathan Lucroy hit a 2-run shot. If the bullpen could hold on, Milwaukee at least had a fighting chance.

Sadly, no amount of offense could have helped the Crew. Chris Narveson took the long relief role after Marcum but tossed up 5 more runs in under 2 innings work. Every run the Brewers earned back we’re taken twofold by St. Louis. The defense and bullpen struggled the rest of the way, and while the bats wanted to make a run at it, the hole was just too deep. After a September in which the relief had a collective 1.14 ERA, they ballooned to 4.20 over the playoffs. Late game ovations for Prince Fielder and Craig Counsell were the only highlights as Milwaukee vanished the remainder of the game.

So it is on to a shorter offseason than Milwaukee is used to. That doesn’t mean it won’t hurt as much. Hopefully another year of experience with Roenicke and his staff will make next year just as successful as this one.

 

Thanks for reading along all season. Follow me on Twitter ( @MilwaukeeBrian

 

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