Baseball is a funny game. The game is NEVER over until that 27th out is made. And if you ask any pitcher they will tell you that the 27th out in a close game always seems to be the toughest. Comebacks are always fun, but not all comebacks are the same. On May 11th 2018, the Brewers completed their largest comeback of the season against the Rockies and also the 3rd largest largest comeback in all of baseball in the 2018 season. While all of Wisconsin is engulfed by the Polar Vortex, lets revisit one of the best games that happened in the warmth of summer.
The game started out really well for the Crew. They got out to an early 1-0 lead with a sac fly from Ryan Braun.
The Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis was coming into this game with a great start to the season going 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA in his first 7 starts. His xFIP of 4.75 may explain how he ended the season with a 5.01 ERA. Anyway, on the other side Brandon Woodruff was making his 2nd start of the season where he was coming in with a respectable 3.38 FIP. He completed a clean bottom half of the first inning.
In the top of the 2nd inning the Brewers added 1 more thanks to an Orlando Arcia RBI single. In the bottom half of the inning the Rockies came back with one of their own with an RBI double by Ian Desmond despite an excellent relay that almost cut down Parra at the plate.
You can see where Woodruff was attacking Desmond during that at bat. He threw him a fastball up in the zone but Desmond guessed correct and drove the ball into center. The fact that Cain was playing deep helped Parra come all the way around to score.
In the top half of the 3rd, the Brewers yet again added another run due to a Travis Shaw home run.
In the bottom half, things started going south for the Brewers. Before the bottom of the 3rd it was hard to think the Brewers were going to be down by 6 runs in this game. In the bottom of the 3rd, Woodruff got the first batter to ground out. That was followed by a single, RBI triple, RBI single, single, RBI sac fly, and finally a ground out.
The Brewers for the first time went 1,2,3 in the inning. The Rockies, however, did not. Woodruff allowed a home run to lead off the inning.
He followed this by a single and a walk. That was it for Woodruff. Jacob Barnes came in and proceeded to allow 4 more runs 3 of which were his earned runs. At the end of this inning the score had become 9-3 Rockies. In a blink of an eye the Brewers were down 6 runs despite scoring in each of their first three innings.
Following a Cain strikeout and Yelich fly out, the Rockies had a win expectancy of 96.8%. A Travis Shaw RBI single put the game at 9-4 with the Rockies still having a 94.8% chance of winning at the end of that half inning. Following a 1,2,3 inning, the Brewers got back to work.
Hernan Perez led off the inning with a single, and the train was off from there. Manny Pina drove him in with a double and then Arcia came up and drove Pina in with an RBI single. Following a Taylor Williams strikeout (typical pitcher), Cain drove Arcia in with an RBI double and Yelich drove Cain in.
At then end of the top of the inning, the Brewers drove the Rockies win expectancy down to 72.6%. While a clean bottom half of the inning was much needed to keep the momentum, Carlos Gonzalez responded:
Going into the top of the 7th, Gonzalez gave the Rockies a bit of a boost. It was an impressive piece of hitting taking that ball the other way. Considering the struggles Car-Go was going through it was a tough pill for the Brewers to swallow following such a big inning.
Following clean innings for both teams in the 7th and 8th innings, the Brewers had one final shot in the 9th inning down 2 runs. The Rockies had a 95.7% chance to win the game entering the inning. Travis Shaw struck out and Aguilar flied out. Now the Brewers were down to their final out. Hernan Perez started things finally with a single and advanced to 2nd on a catchers indifference. What happened next illustrated the never give up mentality the Brewers had all season long:
Manny Pina launched an oppo taco to tie the game. At the time of this game Davis had a 2.35 ERA and already racked up 14 saves with only 1 blown save. Jeremy Jeffress came in for a scoreless bottom half of the 9th and at this point the Brewers brought the win expectancy down to 50%.
After a Domingo Santana lineout to start the inning, Cain singled, then Yelich struck out. Following a Saladino single to extend the inning, Travis Shaw came up and delivered the go-ahead hit
In the bottom of the 9th, phenom Josh Hader came on to close the deal. He did so in typical Hader fashion with a swing and miss on a slider.
This game had all the theatrics. There were 4 total home runs and the Brewers out-hit the Rockies 17-16. Leading the team with a win probability added with .32, Travis Shaw was the key contributor to the game with Manny Pina and Josh Hader both having a .25 WPA for the game. I will leave you with the final picture of the game:
Hopefully this provides a little relief from the cold that is taking over the state. It is less than 2 weeks until pitchers and catchers report. It will not be too long after that when we will look forward to seeing more games like these. And remember, the game is NEVER over until that 27th out.