Brewers 2009 Season Recap: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Kenn HoekstraContributor IOctober 13, 2009

CHICAGO - JULY 03:  Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers at bat against the Chicago Cubs during their MLB game on July 3, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

A year removed from the team's first postseason berth in a quarter century, the 2009 Milwaukee Brewers finished a disappointing 80-82, good for third in the National League Central behind the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.

Here's a look back at The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the 2009 Milwaukee Brewers season...

Starting Pitching

The Good

Yovani Gallardo and Braden Looper were the only two full-time Brewers starters to post winning records in 2009. Looper, who joined the team as a free agent from the St. Louis Cardinals in the offseason, started 34 games and posted a 14-7 record. Looper's 14 wins are the most for a Brewers right-hander since Cal Eldred notched 14 victories in 1993.

Gallardo posted a 13-12 record in 30 starts and led all Brewers starters with a 3.73 ERA. His 204 strikeouts also led the team; that tally was good for fifth on the Brewers' all-time franchise list.  

Honorable Mention: Rookie Chris Narveson posted a 2-0 record and a 3.83 ERA in four starts and became the first Brewers rookie since 1998 to strike out double-digit batters in a game when he fanned 10 Cubs on Sept. 23.

The Bad

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Jeff Suppan's statistics have declined steadily since signing the largest free agent contract in Brewers history in 2007. The veteran right-hander failed to post a winning record in his first two seasons as a Brewer starter and went 7-12 on the mound in 200

Suppan's losing record, coupled with his team-high $12.5 million salary, has drawn the ire of Brewers fans, who would very much like to see the hero of the 2006 World Series live up to his billing.

The Ugly

Dave Bush started the season 3-1 and was looking sharp before landing on the disabled list and missing most of July and August with an arm injury. After his hot start, Bush went 2-8 down the stretch and was never able to regain his early season form, finishing the season with a 6.38 ERA, the highest among Brewers starters.


The Good

Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, offensively, were one of the best one-two punches in baseball in 2009. The pair combined for 78 home runs, and their 255 RBI were tops in Major League Baseball for an RBI duo ahead of Philadelphia's Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth. Fielder's 141 RBIs eclipsed Cecil Cooper's all-time Brewer record of 126.

Braun and Fielder were among the National League leaders in plate appearances and slugging percentage. Braun was No. 7 in the NL in batting average, and Fielder was second in the league in on-base percentage (which was no doubt helped by his 110 walks on the year).

Fielder belted 46 home runs in 2009 (one behind Albert Pujols for the league lead), and Braun led the majors in hits with 203, becoming only the third Brewer in history to accomplish this feat (Robin Yount/Paul Molitor). In recognition of their efforts, both young sluggers were 2009 All-Star selections.

The Bad

J.J. Hardy's 2009 production dropped in every offensive category from his 2008 levels. In addition to watching his batting average drop from .283 to an anemic .229, Hardy also saw a 50 percent drop in doubles, triples, and home run

To get an idea of how substantial Hardy's 2009 statistical drop-off was, look at his only 2009 stat on par with his 2008 numbers—strikeouts (98 in 2008—85 in 2009 in 155 fewer at-bats).

The Ugly

Like Hardy, Bill Hall also saw a drop-off in every offensive category in 2009. Hall struggled early and never managed to find his stroke in an infield full of hungry young players and consistent veteran hitters all battling for playing time.

His offensive futility in 2009 is best illustrated by his .201 batting average, which was only .001 better than pitcher Braden Looper. The Brewers finally got frustrated with Bill Hall's inconsistency and traded him to the Mariners in August for pitcher Ruben Flores.


The Good

Prince Fielder committed only seven errors at first base in 2009, where he started all 162 games. This tally is a marked improvement over a 2008 campaign that saw him commit 17 errors in 155 starts.

Ryan Braun also played much better defense in 2009. The young left fielder committed only two errors in 155 games, down from nine in 2008.

Honorable Mention: Craig Counsell committed only one error in 64 combined starts at second base and shortstop. The 13-year veteran also filled in admirably at third, committing just four errors at a position where Casey McGehee (13) and Mat Gamel (7) struggled defensively.

The Bad

Casey McGehee committed 13 errors in 62 starts at third base and two more at second base in 2009. The rookie of the year candidate was bothered all season by a bad knee and will undergo surgery in the offseason to repair the damage. The Brewers are no doubt hoping that a year's worth of experience and a clean bill of health will improve McGehee's fielding percentage in 2010.

The Ugly

Mat Gamel got a not-so-warm welcome to the big leagues in 2009, committing seven errors in 24 starts at third base. The rookie's .885 fielding percentage was the worst on the team for a non-pitcher.

Relief Pitching/Bullpen

The Good

Todd Coffey and Trevor Hoffman were the bright spots in a lackluster Brewers bullpen that saw its share of injuries and meltdowns in 2009. Coffey led the pitching staff with 78 appearances, notching 27 holds and two saves while posting a very respectable 2.90 ERA.

Hoffman, the ageless wonder, notched 37 saves in 41 opportunities and posted a 1.83 ERA as the team's closer. Trevor's solid season was rewarded with an All-Star selection and a new contract that will see him in a Brewers uniform in 2010, where he will try to become the first player in history to record 600 career saves.

Honorable Mention: Mitch Stetter had the second most appearances out of the bullpen in 2009 with 71. The lefty specialist compiled a 4-1 record with 20 holds and one save while posting a 3.60 ERA.

The Bad

Seth McClung never really established himself in 2009 after a very solid 2008 campaign that saw him start 12 games and pitch over 100 innings with a 4.02 ERA. “Big Red” posted a 3-3 record in 2009 with five holds and one blown save in 41 appearances, primarily in middle relief.

McClung's ERA climbed almost a full point to 4.94 in 2009, and he posted nearly as many walks (39) as strikeouts (40) this season out of the bullpen.

The Ugly

Carlos Villanueva posted an abysmal 4-10 record and was only able to convert three of eight save opportunities in 64 appearances in 2009. The 25-year-old right-hander was given opportunities to start, close, and be a setup man at various points in the season but failed to shine in any of those roles.

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