You spell Cardinals with nine letters. Unless you're a Brewers fan, in which case it's probably more like a four-letter word.
Nobody needs to tell a Brewers fan what life’s been like against the Cardinals of late. In a word, bad. In a four-letter word… well, make up your own. But if you want some specifics to wallow in, here they are.
Since 2013, St. Louis has won 16 of 21 against the Brew Crew. Since 2012, 25 of 36. And of course, in 2014, the Cards have won both of their games against Milwaukee by a combined score of 10-1, and done so at Miller Park.
When St. Louis’ Jhonny Peralta homered in the ninth inning Tuesday, it put the Cardinals up 6-1 and sparked a mass exodus of Milwaukee faithful. By the time it was finished, there might have been more folks in the seats cheering for the Cardinals than the Brewers.
And now, you need only turn on sports radio or check out Twitter to sense the general malaise among Brewers Nation. This despite the fact that, just two days ago, the Brewers were riding a nine-game winning streak. This despite the fact that they’re still 10-4 and, even were the Brewers to lose today, they'd still be in a first-place tie with the Cardinals.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, well aware of the direction this Cardinals/Brewers narrative is heading, tried to downplay that momentum Tuesday night. But the normally serene and even-keeled skipper did so in a tone that betrayed a hint of extra agitation.
“I don’t think we’re so concerned about it,” Roenicke said, his voice rising a bit. “You guys are more concerned about the Cardinals than we are. We’re concerned about winning ballgames, whoever it’s against. It doesn’t matter. We have to win games.”
And yet, the sense is that if the Brewers want to be the best, they have to beat the best. And right now, and for some time, the Cardinals have been the best, especially in the National League Central. They have embodied a brick wall for the Brewers, who have yet to discover the proper sledgehammer for it. Which has left their fans of a mind to bang their heads into it.
So maybe it’s a good time to remind everyone that the calendar says April 16, leaving plenty of time for a shift in this 2014 narrative. And in the words so familiar to investors and sports fans, past performances do not guarantee future results.
The Brewers learned this was the case with that nine-game winning streak.
Their fans hope it’s the case with this Cardinals streak.
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