What do you get when you combine a fireballing pitcher, solid relief, a young slugger, a hit with runners in scoring position, and defense that was unspectacular but solid?
A broom, you get. And you sweep those lousy beer makers out the door.
We needed something after that Nationals series; we needed it in the worst way. We needed a sweep, and what’s more, we needed a dominant, unquestionable sweep. We needed to prove beyond doubt that we were the class of the division.
But in a way, this almost feels better.
We didn’t dominate. We outscored the Brewers, over the entire series, by four runs. We made errors; we left men on base; in multiple scoring opportunities, we failed to capitalize.
And then we looked at what had happened, and realized we’d swept ‘em anyway.
We’re not playing at our highest level yet — not by a long shot. Pitching, almost. But the offense is far from where it could be.
And so, like we’ve been looking forward to since it became clear that we were assembling a super-rotation, just when the offense took a step back, the pitching stepped in and won us three games in a row.
A team working just like it’s supposed to. There are few sweeter sights.
Today, it was Thor, going 7 innings without an earned run, and striking out 11. It could have been Matz, or deGrom, or — if he can ever get out there and find himself — Harvey. But either way, the pitching staff that we’ve been assembling since 2012 was out in full force.
On the offensive side, it was Conforto and Cabrera. Not much offense, but enough. The offense that we built to complement this pitching staff — not an onslaught of runs, but enough to do the job — got its work done perfectly.
And now we’re headed into Washington coming off a sweep. We’ve got Colón, Harvey, and Matz. A maybe, a hopefully, and a probably. Meanwhile, our offense is due for a turnaround any day now.
That’s the best part about this team. You can knock us down for a while; last week, the Nationals did just that. But we’re always just a few steps away from a turnaround. We’re never out.