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Are the Brewers the team to beat in the National League?

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor


Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Phillies were and still are the prohibitive favorites to win the World Series. But, after watching the Milwaukee Brewers this past weekend, perhaps they are the team to beat here in October.

The Brewers showed their full arsenal to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Games 1 and 2, as they beat them behind a terrific pitching performance from Yovani Gallardo on Saturday, then went into full "beast mode" on Sunday, taking 9-4 win.

"That's a type game where you feel like offensively you're going to keep scoring runs and hopefully because of it, it builds the confidence in the whole lineup, because they all came through today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.

The Brewers are now one win away from advancing to their first championship series since 1982, when they beat the Angels in the ALCS before falling to St. Louis in the World Series.

Prince Fielder
The Brewers are one win away from advancing to their first championship series since 1982.
And for those of you who are wondering what exactly "beast mode" is, well it's a little something that Prince Fielder came up with. When things start rolling their way with either a great play or a big hit, a player must raise both hands, preferably above your head, pose your fingers like an attacking wild animal, and go "RAWR!"

"We have a lot of fun," outfielder Ryan Braun said. "The 'beast mode' thing is something that we do for each other to kind of get fired up whenever something positive happens. And I think it's kind of taken on a life of its own. But it's something that we all enjoy doing."

As good as Philadelphia's vaunted rotation is, the Brewers may very well be the most complete team in the entire postseason. They are certainly having the most fun.

And in case you haven't noticed the Phillies currently have their hands full with the St. Louis Cardinals at the moment, as that series heads to St. Louis all knotted at a game apiece with neither Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee slated to go in the next two days at Busch Stadium.

In fact we likely won't see either of them until a potential Game 5 in Philadelphia.

But the Brewers definitely opened up some eyes this weekend.

It's hard to say any one team can hang with the Phillies in the starting pitching department, but the Brewers come close. Gallardo is as good as it gets and showed that on Saturday with eight innings of one-run ball, while Zach Greinke is unbeatable at home, where he was 11-0 before getting a no- decision on Sunday on short rest.

Then there's Game 3 starter Shaun Marcum, who was one of the league's top pitchers on the road at 8-3 with a 2.21 ERA in his 16 starts away from Miller Park.

If that's not enough closer John Axford set the team saves record and hasn't blown one since the first month of the season.

But as good as they may pitch, that offense is downright scary - almost like a monster - especially MVP candidates Braun and Fielder. Braun has six hits through the first two games, while Fielder's home run on Saturday set the tone for the whole series.

"I was trying to enjoy the moment," Fielder said. "Just trying to enjoy it. You know, it's still baseball. Just more magnified, I guess. I'm just trying to enjoy fans, teammates, just really trying to have as much fun as possible and not make it a job. Not try to win so hard. Just try to enjoy it.

Who knows what happens from here on out, but if the Brewers remain in "beast mode", things could get real interesting in the National League.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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