MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers consider themselves a particularly resilient bunch, just like every team that has made the postseason without leading wire to wire. Manager Ron Roenicke figures they will have to draw on that resiliency in Game 6 -- and, they hope, Game 7 -- of the National League Championship Series.
The Brewers must win both to advance to the World Series.
"I think we've had to be [resilient] to get to this point," Roenicke said. "If we hadn't been, we would have never got into the playoffs. Early on, because we played poorly for a while, it took some time to figure out we were good, we knew how to play and how to win."
Adversity struck before the season's first pitch, when the Brewers' prized offseason acquisition, right-hander Zack Greinke, cracked a left rib playing pick-up basketball and became one of three potential Opening Day starters to begin the year on the disabled list (catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right fielder Corey Hart were the others, Lucroy with a fractured pinkie finger and Hart a rib-cage strain).
Then there was a seven-game losing streak in late April and early May that coincided with Greinke's shaky debut and Yovani Gallardo's early-season swoon. There were the "road woes," an inexplicable inability to win away from Miller Park that persisted through the All-Star break to the tune of a 16-31 road record. There was another slide in September that saw a seemingly safe 10 1/2-game lead in the NL Central shrink nearly in half.
Then there was the NL Division Series, in which the Brewers won the first two games at home, lost both on the road in Arizona and needed to win Game 5 at Miller Park to advance. They will be in the same position on Sunday.
"Similar, yes," Roenicke said. "I thought we played a nice [NLDS] Game 5 here, and certainly this is the same situation. Hopefully, it's going to be two of them in a row."