Milwaukee Brewers: Comparing the Starting Rotation to Other NL Contenders
Ordinarily, or at least in recent memory, the Milwaukee Brewers have thrived offensively but have struggled mightily on the mound. In four of the past five seasons, Milwaukee’s team ERA has ranked in the bottom half of the MLB compared to the competition.
As any knowledgeable manager could tell you, that simply won’t get the job done.
GM Doug Melvin determined the problem and sought to fix it last offseason. After acquiring Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers now rank 11th in the MLB in team ERA—enough to propel Milwaukee to the top of the NL Central.
With the playoffs looming, starting pitching will become a critical element to success.
Let’s compare Milwaukee’s rotation to the National League’s biggest contenders.
*All statistics through August 20, 2011*
No. 1 Starters
The way Zack Greinke has been pitching of late, it wouldn't surprise me if he's named the No.1 starter once the postseason comes around.
Greinke has yet to lose a home decision in 2011, going 9-0 with a 3.15 ERA in 71.1 innings of work.
However, make no mistake about it: Yovani Gallardo is the undisputed ace of Ron Roenicke's rotation. The 25-year-old has been as good or even better then Greinke at Miller Park this season, going 8-1 with a 2.73 ERA in 79.0 innings of work.
With the Brewers' unprecedented home success this season, it would be ideal for Gallardo to top the rotation heading into a postseason series.
Milwaukee Brewers: Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.55 ERA, 142 SO)
Philadelphia Phillies: Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.53 ERA, 177 SO)
Arizona Diamondbacks: Ian Kennedy (15-4, 3.22 ERA, 146 SO)
San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum (11-10, 2.53 ERA, 182 SO)
St. Louis Cardinals: Chris Carpenter (8-8, 3.68 ERA, 142 SO)
Atlanta Braves: Jair Jurrjens (12-5, 2.84 ERA, 86 SO)
No. 2 Starters
After missing the first month of the season with a injured rib, Greinke returned to action only to struggle considerably.
In the month of May, Greinke posted a stifling 5.29 ERA and gave up five home runs in 34.0 IP. June wasn't much kinder: WIth a 3-2 record, 6.04 ERA and a .265 BAA, Greinke looked both frustrated and embarrassed on the mound.
In the month of August, Greinke is 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA and has 28 SO in just 27.2 IP.
If the Brewers expect to contend for the World Series, they'll need Greinke pitching the way he's been of late.
Milwaukee Brewers: Zack Greinke (12-4, 3.92 ERA, 151 SO)
Philadelphia Phillies: Cliff Lee (13-7, 2.82 ERA, 184 SO)
Arizona Diamondbacks: Daniel Hudson (12-9, 3.83 ERA, 130 SO)
San Francisco Giants: Matt Cain (10-9, 2.86 ERA, 143 SO)
St. Louis Cardinals: Jaime Garcia (10-6, 3.45 ERA, 129 SO)
Atlanta Braves: Tim Hudson (12-7, 3.13 ERA, 115 SO)
No. 3 Starters
Marcum has been a model of consistency thus far in 2011 but has found most of his success away from Miller Park.
Overall, the Brewers' No.3 starter is 11-3 with a 3.40 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 127 SO. On the road Marcum's 2.47 ERA will make him one of the most formidable arms in all of baseball away from home.
If Milwaukee is able to catch Philadelphia for the National League's top record, Marcum would be arguably MLB's top No.3 starter in the postseason.
Milwaukee Brewers: Shaun Marcum (11-3, 3.40 ERA, 127 SO)
Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62 ERA, 155 SO)
Arizona Diamondbacks: Joe Saunders (8-10, 3.91 ERA, 86 SO)
San Francisco Giants: Ryan Vogelsong (10-3, 2.47 ERA, 105 SO)
St. Louis Cardinals: Kyle Lohse (11-7, 3.33 ERA, 82 SO)
Atlanta Braves: Tommy Hanson (11-7, 3.60 ERA, 142 SO)
No. 4 Starters
Believe it or not, Wolf leads all Brewers starters in ERA (3.30) and is a close second to Yovani Gallardo for the most innings pitched (156.1).
Wolf has done fabulously in the month of August, registering a 2.45 ERA and a 3-0 combined record while allowing just six runs to cross home plate.
The Brewers will need Wolf's left-handed talents in the postseason as left-handed-hitting lineups such as the Phillies will be at a huge advantage against the rest of Milwaukee's rotation.
Milwaukee Brewers: Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.30 ERA, 104 SO)
Philadelphia Phillies: Roy Oswalt (5-7, 3.84 ERA, 51 SO)
Arizona Diamondbacks: Josh Collmenter (6-7, 3.78 ERA, 66 SO)
San Francisco Giants: Madison Bumgarner (7-11, 3.49 ERA, 139 SO)
Atlanta Braves: Derek Lowe (8-11, 4.73 ERA, 108 SO)
No. 5 Starters
The back end of the rotation has yet to be fully solidified as Chris Narveson's freak injury cost him three starts over the past two weeks. Marco Estrada has filled the void left in Rick Kranitz's rotation in the meantime.
With the Brewers playing as well as they have been of late, Roenicke may stick to an alternating five-man rotation. If either Estrada or Narveson struggle, he may mull a four-man rotation if Milwaukee does make the postseason.
Thus far, Narveson is 8-6 with a 4.49 ERA in 23 starts for Milwaukee and is expected to come of the 15-day disabled list within the next calendar week.
Milwaukee Brewers: Chris Narveson (8-6, 4.49 ERA, 109 SO)
Philadelphia Phillies: Vance Worley (8-1, 2.76 ERA, 74 SO)
Arizona Diamondbacks: N/A
San Francisco Giants: Jonathon Sanchez (4-7, 4.26 ERA, 102 SO)
St. Louis Cardinals: Jake Westbrook (9-7, 4.81 ERA, 77 SO)
Atlanta Braves: Brandon Beachy (5-2, 3.43 ERA, 113 SO)