MILWAUKEE -- It has definitely been a tale of two cities for the Brewers' slugging duo of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.The pair were dominant in Games 1 and 2 at Miller Park as the Brewers built a 2-0 lead in the National League Division Series. Braun was 6-for-8 in those games with a homer and three RBIs. Fielder, meanwhile, was 3-for-8 with a homer and three RBIs. The home run was a two-run shot off Ian Kennedy that iced Game 1 for the Brewers. "I was just watching [Game 1] on the plane over here, and it was against Ian Kennedy, and Ian threw [Braun] great," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Thursday. "He fouled the pitch off right in on his hands. He threw a ball right on the inside corner, and Braun threw his bat straight down and made a double. That's good execution. That's good hitting. You've got to tip your hat on that. They hurt us here. Everybody bears down." It was a different story for both players when the series shifted to Chase Field. Braun and Fielder combined in Games 3 and 4 to go just 3-for-14 with one RBI. "These guys, they come up with a game plan, they try to execute it every time," Gibson said of his pitchers. "But sometimes that's not good enough. In the first two days, it wasn't. At our place, it worked well. And we out-executed them. We outpitched them. We outhit them. It was just the reverse of what happened here."
D-backs better prepared for road atmosphere
MILWAUKEE -- They talked a good game about how they were ready for what the first two games of the National League Division Series at Miller Park would be like, but the D-backs now admit that it took some getting used to.The Brewers rolled to a pair of victories on their home field, beating the D-backs, 4-1, in Game 1 and, 9-4, in Game 2. Heading into Friday's decisive Game 5, there will be no surprises. "A lot of guys it was their first time in the postseason, myself included," D-backs closer J.J. Putz said. "I don't think anybody really knew what the atmosphere was going to be like here. And I think playing a couple of games here definitely kind of puts us at a little bit of ease knowing what to expect, as far as from the crowd standpoint. And we have that confidence of winning the last two and coming here with a little bit of momentum." Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said the crowd noise posed some communication challenges between the dugout and the field and even within the dugout during the first two games. Adjustments, he said, have been made in how the club communicates and he does not expect it to be a problem in Game 5. Players also talked about the unique shadows that come with the Miller Park roof being something they were not used to. The D-backs played just three games in Milwaukee during the regular season as opposed to the nine games they play at opposing ballparks within their division. "You come in here, there's a full crowd, The shadows are a factor, how it evolves during the game is different," Gibson said. "So I think it's different. I think we will have an understanding more of what to expect this time. But ultimately it all comes down to the execution. The big thing is, is are you going to make the plays when it really matters. I think that's one of the strengths of our team is we have the ability to make big plays. Big pitches, big plays in the field, big plays on the bases."
Putz see valuable action as D-backs pull even
MILWAUKEE -- They were not save situations, but the experience that D-backs closer J.J. Putz got in finishing off Games 3 and 4 of the National League Division Series were valuable nonetheless.The D-backs were comfortably ahead by an 8-1 margin in Game 3 and were up, 10-6, in Game 4 when Putz pitched the ninth inning. That does not mean there was not some nerves for Putz, who saved 45 games during the season. After all, it was the veteran's first taste of the postseason. "Definitely felt the pressure of pitching in that type of situation," Putz said. "And I think that just being able to get in there, [D-backs manager Kirk Gibson] thought it was big for us to get just any kind of work we could in the postseason. I think it was definitely big for us to get out there and just get a couple of innings under our belt. I'm anxious for [Game 5]."
The D-backs and Brewers square off Friday at 2 p.m. MST to determine who advances to the NL Championship Series.