One game into the postseason, things appear to be going as planned for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Pitching on three days’ rest in his postseason debut, Zack Greinke(notes) looks to remain undefeated at home and help the Brewers take a commanding 2-0 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday in their best-of-five NL division series.
Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA) allowed two runs and threw 74 pitches in six innings of a 7-3 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, helping Milwaukee secure homefield advantage in its NLDS. The right-hander was kept on a limited pitch count with the intent of him throwing at home in Game 2 on short rest, ideally with a chance to take a huge advantage in the series.
Making his first playoff appearance after enjoying only individual success during seven seasons with Kansas City, the former AL Cy Young award could not be more excited about the opportunity regardless of how rested he is.
“Plenty comfortable,” Greinke said. “I didn’t throw that many pitches last time because we planned on it possibly happening. “It’s still just getting ready for a game and just try to make your pitches and things should work good if you just do that.”
Things have worked out quite well for Greinke this season at Miller Park, where he is 11-0 with a 3.13 ERA in 15 starts - all Brewers victories.
“Sometimes when you get on a roll it just kind of continues easier,” Greinke said. “I don’t think I even noticed I pitched any better here than on the road until maybe a month ago when people were making a big deal out of it. It just kind of happened.”
Greinke did not face Arizona at Miller Park this year but allowed only solo homers to Justin Upton(notes) and Miguel Montero(notes) over seven innings of a 4-0 road loss to Ian Kennedy(notes) and the Diamondbacks on July 21.
Milwaukee tagged Kennedy for four runs in 6 2-3 innings of Saturday’s 4-1 victory in Game 1. Ryan Braun(notes) had three hits and Prince Fielder(notes) went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer to help the Brewers carry over their success at Miller Park from a regular season in which they won a major league-best 57 home games.
Fielder’s effort doubled his offensive production from the entire 2008 NLDS, when he went 1 for 14 with a homer and six strikeouts versus Philadelphia.
“In ’08, in my mind, it was a one-game playoff every day,” said Fielder, who has free agency looming and believes this is his last season in Milwaukee. “I felt if we lost, the series was over every time, (Saturday) I was just, like I said, enjoy it. We’ve got a five-game series.”
Hudson (16-12, 3.49) had a solid first full season as a starter, but posted a 4.26 ERA while losing his last three starts. He also wasn’t very good at Milwaukee on July 4, when he allowed six runs in four innings and did not factor in the decision of Arizona’s 8-6 victory.
Still, the right-hander is confident, even knowing his team must even the series in one of the toughest places for an opponent to win.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Hudson said. “We’re going to face some adversity, the crowd is going to be loud. We’ve just got to kind of push through it.”
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson also has faith his club can bounce back.
“We’ve got a good guy pitching, and we’ve been down before and we’ve been resilient,” he said. “We’ll come back with a good attitude and believe we can win (Sunday).”
Ryan Roberts(notes) homered in the eighth inning of Game 1 and Willie Bloomquist(notes) had two of the four hits for the Diamondbacks, who are making their first postseason appearance since 2007, when they defeated the Chicago Cubs in a division series but got swept by Colorado in the NL championship series.
All-Stars Upton and Montero went a combined 1 for 8 on Saturday, but are a combined 7 for 13 off Greinke with the two homers and two doubles.