Brewers starting rotation puts them in great position for October
It is often said in baseball, that pitching, mostly starting pitching, is the most important tool to win ball games. If your starter can go deep into games while holding the opponent to as few runs as possible, the chance of winning is extremely high. Simple enough, right? Well that’s what the Milwaukee Brewers have been doing all season long. Led by Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta, the starting pitchers have been dominating, which has been the key to Milwaukee’s success this season. Teams are hard to beat when they have three All-Stars in their starting rotation, which is exactly what the Brewers have.
Coming into the 2021 season, nobody knew what to expect from the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting rotation. Brandon Woodruff was expected to be the staple, as he had been in the previous two seasons, but the rest of the group was sort of a question mark. Corbin Burnes showed flashes of excellence in parts of 2018 and a shortened 2020 season, but was absolutely terrible in 2019, posting an ERA of 8.82. And Freddy Peralta had been solid in his time with the Brewers, but had never been an uber-consistent piece in a rotation that you always felt comfortable with. He had been bound to give up lots of walks and homeruns, a tough combination to try and survive with if you’re an MLB pitcher. In Spring Training there was plenty of reason for optimism, but also plenty of reason to worry.
By the first month of the season, it was evident that the starting rotation had the ability to be altogether dominant. Woodruff, Burnes, and Peralta were all cruising through games. The only question was whether they would be able to keep it up. They did ; Craig Counsell’s Big Three all became All-Stars and the Brewers are on their way to a division title in the NL Central.
When it comes to pitching, it’s hard to find a group as deep as the Brewers. Even after Woodruff (7-6, 2.26), Burnes (6-4, 2.46, and Peralta (8-3, 2.18), Milwaukee still has reliable options. Brett Anderson and Adrian Houser come to mind. Houser is 7-5 with a 3.69 ERA, and Anderson is 4-5 with a 3.67 ERA. Both are proving to have very productive seasons, they’re just being overshadowed a bit from being behind such dominators in the rest of the rotation. The Brewers show up to every game with a starting pitcher that gives the team a great chance to win. That is incredibly scary for other teams, especially in the postseason.
As of today, the Brewers sit 7.5 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds for first place in the NL Central. A 7.5 game lead is a large one in baseball, and hard to lose in two-month’s time, but with the way the rotation has been pitching, it’s almost surefire that the lead will be held on to. With three guys that can dominate ball games, and two more that give you a good shot at winning, it’s going to be extremely hard for the Reds to make up ground in this division.
With two months to go until the postseason, the Brewers sit in incredible shape. As crazy as it sounds, with a starting rotation like theirs, arguably no team is more primed to go on a long postseason run. Most teams have one or two aces on the team, guys that will give you at least 6 innings of work and will make you feel good heading into their start. But the Brewers have three, a recipe for some great success. For example, it takes three wins to move on in the NLDS, and four in the NLCS and World Series. With a rotation like theirs, it is hard seeing a team being able to beat them in a five game series, especially. There are just too many guys with overpowering stuff. Imagine heading into a series having to go against starting pitching with a combined ERA of 2.26 in the first three games. That’s the type of fear that this rotation instills in other teams. Postseason baseball is all about shortening games and getting the game to your bullpen with a lead. All five of Milwaukee’s starting pitchers have the wherewithal to go deep in games. Simply put, the fewer runs that are allowed, the greater chance of winning games. And with three outright dominant pitchers, the Brewers will be set up very well come postseason time. While not yet proven, today’s Brewers remind some of the 1990’s Atlanta Braves, a starting rotation that featured Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine. While Milwaukee’s pitchers come nowhere close to the legendary status that the 90’s Braves had, the same type of baseline remains the same : a young group of pitchers that have Fgrown accustomed to thoroughly dominating hitters.
However, there are certainly things that the Brewers need to fix before they are declared the favorite to win the World Series. Christian Yelich needs to get back to some type of the form he was in during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He doesn’t need to return to MVP form, but a boost in production would be instrumental in postseason success. The Brewers could really use another hot bat heading into October. A boost in consistency on the offensive end in general would be huge. But with the way the rotation has been performing, postseason success in Milwaukee is expected, and a run to the World Series is within reach.