Otherwise known as the guy standing in the way of the Brewers sweeping the NLDS.
Only devoted followers of the game have heard of Collmenter before this week, but now that Collmenter is about to embark on the most important start of his young career, he’s getting a lot of press. Some have commented on his “ridiculous delivery” and his multitude of nicknames, including “Caveman,” “Ferris Wheel,” and my personal favorite, “Tomahawk” (which makes some sense, I guess, because Collmenter says he honed his skills throwing hatchets as a kid in Michigan). Others note that Collmenter has tossed fourteen scoreless innings against the Brewers this year, in what is Collmenter’s rookie campaign. Still others have focused on Collmenter’s role in pushing the D’Backs to a playoff berth (he’s 10-10 in 24 starts, with 28 walks, 100 strikeouts, a 3.38 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP).
Collmenter presumably watched the game on Sunday, so he knows what this Brewers offense is capable of. In one of the best offensive innings that I can remember all year, the Brewers’ five-run sixth was a thing of beauty, a hit parade that transformed a tie game into a rout. And Yuniesky Betancourt walked, so you really know things are clicking.
Of course, as Jim Breen notes over at Bernie’s Crew, the keys to the Brewers’ offense still belong to Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, and they’ve been driving this little buggy to the tune of 9-16 with 2 HR and 6 RBI between them. Breen suggests Collmenter has handcuffed the Brewers’ offensive aces pretty well this season, but that’s slightly misleading; Prince is 2-5 against Collmenter and Braun hasn’t faced him this year thanks to the nagging calf strain that kept him sidelined for the All-Star Game (and part or all of both series against Arizona). So we have some success in a small sample size in Fielder’s case, and no track record in Braun’s.
Collmenter gets the pleasure of facing both sluggers back-to-back tonight in a must-win game for Arizona. The pressure’s on, and we’ll see how well the rookie can handle it. My suspicion: that nice little scoreless streak everyone’s focusing on gets snapped pretty early.