When I first looked at the Padres’ 2012 schedule, I will admit, I did not read into it too closely. I mean, I looked for the Divisional matchups, and also the games they played up in Phoenix, but other than that, I figured it was just a standard schedule against their regular N.L. West opponents, N.L. opponents, with some Interleague Games mixed in as well. Recently though, I took a look at San Diego’s final series and saw that they were slated to play the Brewers in Milwaukee. When I read it, my heart sank a bit and I was brought back to an emotional place I thought I had left five years ago. I think most of you readers know where I am going with this, but for those which do not remember, let’s take the DeLorean back to late-September of 2007:Tony Gwynn Jr. came through big time for Milwaukee five seasons ago. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Needing only a single win in their final two games to seal the National League Wild-Card spot, San Diego seemed to be in prime position to seal their postseason spot over the weekend. All-Star and #2 Starter Chris Young took the mound for the Padres that afternoon. It certainly appeared the Padres would be able to clinch that night, even if it was a hard fought game. The Padres and Brewers fought back and forth to tie the game at 2-2 by the Top of the 7th. It was in that Inning that all seemed to be going the Padres’ way as Adrian Gonzalez appeared to play hero, and drove in Pinch-Runner Drew Macias with a Single to put the Friars ahead 3-2. Nine Outs stood between the Padres and the postseason. Sadly, it all came apart in the 9th when future Hall of Fame Closer Trevor Hoffman gave up a 1 Out Double to Corey Hart and then a 2 Out Triple to Tony Gwynn Jr., and the game was knotted at 3 apiece! If Prince Fielder had knocked in the tying run, then fine, but of all people, “Mr. Padre’s” own son was the one to delay San Diego’s postseason dreams! Milwaukee finally won the game in the Bottom of the 11th on a Vinny Rottino Single which scored Ryan Braun, and the Padres were forced to win on the season’s final day to clinch.
The next game was almost as bad as San Diego built a 3-0 lead in the Top of the 1st Inning. The 3 run 1st was courtesy of a Brian Giles Home Run and a 2-run Double by Geoff Blum. Unfortunately, Starter Brett Tomko and the rest of San Diego’s pitching staff fell apart by the middle of the game. From the 4th through the 6th Inning, Milwaukee’s bats came alive as the Brew Crew scored 9 runs to take a commanding lead. San Diego never had a chance after that 9-run barrage, and the Brewers won handily by a score of 11-6.
The final win by Milwaukee sealed the Padres’ fate as they were forced to go to Colorado for the 1-game Wild Card playoff game to play the hot as wildfire Rockies. I will not revisit what happened in that game, but I will still continue to doubt whether Matt Holliday indeed touched the plate on the winning run that sent the Rockies to the postseason. As bad as that extra-innings Colorado loss was to watch, the Padres never should have allowed their season to come down to that specific game. Had the Friars simply taken care of business in Milwaukee, there never would have been a “Rock-tober” or all of the ridiculousness of that “Game 163 Loss,” plain and simple. Those final two regular season games were the ones the Padres needed a “W,” and the Brewers to their credit, dashed their hopes of clinching. What the ’07 team would have done in that postseason, we will never know. Yet whenever I think about that series in Milwaukee and what could have been, it still hurts me more than the “’10 Collapse,” the “’98 Sweep,” or any postseason series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
So come on Friars! If you cannot be in the postseason, at least smash the dreams of others trying to make it!
Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference