WP – McClung, S. LP – Johnson, R. Yes, that just happened. The fact that Seth McClung and Randy Johnson pitched in the same place on the same night and didn’t kill or injure anyone with a heater to the skull was surprising enough. But shutting down the D-Backs through six?
Thank YOU, Seth McClung.
You are a credit to your team, to your state, and to guys with spring training uniform numbers over 60 everywhere. You’ve come a long way since you left West Virginia only to have the Rays put you on their trash heap. You earned the respect of your teammates by pegging Pujols last September after LaRussa gunned down three Brewer batters in the series with no retaliation or ejections. But tonight, you earned the respect of everyone else.
McClung’s success, though, is only part of a larger trend. In the two weeks since the Brewers found themselves in sole possession of last place after getting swept at Fenway, they’ve won eleven of the last fifteen, eight of the last nine, and now five straight. With a combination of solid starts, some timely hitting, and the long ball, the Crew has stayed within striking distance of the Cubs, who appear to be the only team in baseball hotter than Milwaukee right now.
Every member of the Brewers’ rotation has contributed with an abundance of impressive innings, easing the bullpen into its new and welcome status one of the least-used in the National League. At the same time, fan favorites like Braun and Fielder have reasserted their rightful places as legitimate, everyday deep threats. Yet just as important, if not more so, is the fact that even limited-duty guys like Craig Counsell, Joe Dillon, Russell “the Muscle” Branyan and, yes, Seth McClung, are coming up big.
Enjoy it while you can, and be sure to thank those under-appreciated Seth McClungs in your life. Like the first guy into the office that always starts the coffee for everyone else, or the neighbor who snowblows your driveway for you after a blizzard, or the lady at Milio’s or Jimmy John’s that lets you cut in front of her in line because she’s not quite sure what she wants to order yet, or the cable guy that hooks you up with some extra channels when you slip him a twenty. Say thanks to them tomorrow, Brewers fans, because you never know where they’ll end up when Gallardo comes back.