What I Expect: Dave Bush

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IMarch 10, 2009

Dave Bush must be a fan of roller-coasters. I say that because that has pretty much been the path his career has taken with the Milwaukee Brewers.

He has experienced some incredible highs, as well as some very crushing lows. Through it all, Bush has persevered, and has turned into a solid Major League pitcher.

Last season was a microcosm for Bush's three years with the Brewers. He started the season 0-3, and was sent down to Triple A for a cup of coffee before injuries forced the Brewers to recall him.

Bush continued to struggle and would eventually see his record fall to 2-7. After his seventh loss, his ERA stood at 5.73, and it appeared Bush wasn't far away from another demotion.

His turnaround started when he faced his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays, on June 19. He threw eight innings of two-hit ball, giving up only one run to win his third game of the season.

Over his next four starts, Bush had three starts where he pitched into at least the seventh inning and gave up only one run in those three quality starts. Those games were highlighted by a career-high 13 strikeout performance against the Colorado Rockies on July 10.

Bush continued to stay hot in August. In his five starts in the month, all five were quality starts and he won four of them. By September 1, he had lowered his ERA to 4.12. Bush really stepped into his own during the month and looked nothing like the pitcher who was sent down to Triple A only three months earlier.

Bush lost his only decision in September but pitched well despite the lack of run support and bullpen help. In his six September appearances, he only gave up more than three earned runs in an outing once.

By the end of the year, he and CC Sabathia were the only two starters that manager Dale Sveum could count on for a solid outing.

After losing the first two games to the Phillies in the NLDS, it was Bush who was tabbed as the starter for game three in Milwaukee. Bush saved his best performance of the year for the biggest stage.

He battled throughout and when the team need a big start the most, Bush delivered with a gutsy effort. He went 5 1/3 innings and gave up only five hits and a single run.

I really believe that Dave Bush has turned a corner in his career and turned into a top-notch middle of the rotation pitcher. His performance against the Phillies should help with his confidence and make him realize that he can beat the very best teams in baseball.

Bush has been very valuable to the Brewers due to his durability. He has averaged 30-plus starts and over 190 innings in his three years in Milwaukee. I don't see that changing in 2009.

Bush will make his 30 starts and again pitch right around 200 innings. His career high in victories is 12 and I would not be surprised to see Bush pass that mark this season. His strikeouts and walks are fairly consistent, but his hits given up dropped significantly last year.

If his defense remains strong behind him, Bush can be a serviceable No. 2 starter or a very good No. 3 starter for a team desperate for a pitcher to have a career year in 2009.