16 | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

16

By on September 18, 2012

What a wonderful day off on Monday — a nice opportunity to let Wily Peralta‘s dominant outing sink in, but also to step away from Wild Card insanity for a moment. Now that’s that. The Brewers begin their final run of the season, a grueling 16 games in 16 days (including 10 on the road). It’s been fun until now, but now’s the point where one feels inclined to say, “If the Brewers make it to the playoffs, they sure deserve it.” Their next series of games include road sets against competitors Pittsburgh, Washington, and Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh Probables
In this tale of small markets, the Brewers attempt to ride their hot streak to the season’s close, while the Pirates try to recover their midseason magic. After turning a 89 RS / 110 RA May into a 15-13 record, the Pirates went on a 34-19 spree through June and July, their offense suddenly scoring more than five runs per game. Since then, the Pirates allowed more than five runs per game, spurring a 15-28 stretch in August and September. The Pirates close their season by heading to Houston and New York after they host the Brewers, closing their schedule with home series against the Reds and Braves.

Yovani Gallardo @ A.J. Burnett
Marco Estrada @ Kyle McPherson
Fastballer Mike Fiers @ Wandy Rodriguez

Washington Probables
So much virtual ink has been spilled over the Nationals’ ridiculous and short-sighted Stephen Strasburg policy that many people might not realize that several pitchers as good as (or better than) Strasburg drove the Nationals’ 2012 season. While the Nats feature a solid-if-unspectacular offense, their five starters put together average or better campaigns in 139 of the club’s starts. As the Brewers learned last year, if a ballclub has five regular pitchers working at a consistent level, they have a great chance to succeed, and the Nationals’ Top 5 in 2012 are all-around better than the Brewers’ 2011 consistency.

After a few fragmented years in-and-out of the Nationals’ rotation, Ross Detwiler is working the best season of his career, boasting a 3.16 ERA (127 ERA+) in 151 innings. Journeyman slider pitcher Edwin Jackson claims a 3.89 ERA in 28 starts; that average campaign is the Nationals’ FIFTH best. The aforementioned Strasburg claimed a 3.16 ERA during his 159.3 IP, and although he receives much of the hype, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann are the clear aces of the rotation. In more than 186 IP, Gonzalez has a 2.89 ERA, and he leads his rotation mates with wins. In 176.7 IP, Zimmermann carries a 3.01 ERA, working on the follow-up to his 2011 breakthrough season.

With a rotation like that, who needs Strasburg? Of course, the Nationals’ policy with their prized right-hander is short-sighted because (1) his pitching mechanics are bad enough to make him an injury risk any season he pitches, and (2) the Nationals allowed him to work several inefficient outings during his shortened season. Unfortunately, the Nationals did not align Strasburg’s pitch counts with his innings workload, which makes no sense — why limit a pitcher’s innings when you don’t limit their pitches? According to Rany Jazayerli of Grantland, there is evidence than MLB teams already limit their young pitchers’ workloads enough to deter some injuries. Unfortunately for Strasburg and the Nationals, Strasburg might simply be an example of a pitcher that gets injuried regardless of how much he pitches (h/t Ross B.).

Shaun Marcum @ Edwin Jackson
Wily Peralta @ Gio Gonzalez
Yovani Gallardo @ Jordan Zimmermann
Marco Estrada @ John Lannan

Wild Card Week
While the Brewers face the Pirates and Nationals on the road, their wild card foes drew competition from varying levels. The Los Angeles Dodgers head to Washington to keep the park warm before the Brewers show up; one can only hope that the Nationals get all their winning out of their system against Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Cardinals host the Astros, and even if that looks like an easy series for the Redbirds, they draw Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris from Houston. The Phillies play in New York, while the Diamondbacks host the Padres, rounding out series for competitors near the Brewers’ range.

Into the weekend, a bunch of divisional match-ups greet the Brewers’ foes. The Cardinals head to Wrigley to face the Cubs, while the Phillies host the Braves. The Pirates head to Houston, and the Diamondbacks face the Rockies. Meanwhile, the Dodgers continue their brutal roadtrip, heading to Cincinnati to warm up Great American Ballpark for the Brewers. One can only hope that the Dodgers pave the Brewers’ roadtrip with baseball that inspires their competitors to the highest possible level of exhaustion.

Threshold to 85 Wins
St. Louis 8-7
Los Angeles 9-6
Pittsburgh / Milwaukee 11-5
Philadelphia 11-3
Arizona 13-3
San Diego 14-1

Brewers’ (701 RS / 660 RA) Remaining Schedule:
3@ Pittsburgh (604 RS / 608 RA)
4@ Washington (653 RS / 525 RA)
3@ Cincinnati (627 RS / 549 RA)
3v Houston (534 RS / 740 RA)
3v San Diego (596 RS / 634 RA)

IMAGES:
Strasburg: Getty Images / Grantland
Norris: La Crosse Tribune
Burnett: http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/05/gameday-pirates-at-cardinals-3/

Share Our Posts

Share this post through social bookmarks.

  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Newsvine
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Ross B says: September 18, 2012

    There are some hopeful notes regarding the Nationals starters. Jackson and Zimmerman have been pitching much worse over the past few weeks than they were prior to Sept and Aug, Zimmerman in particular. And when the Brewers matched up with Gio in July, the Brewers were able to plate four over six innings, which with the improved pitching will go a lot further to being a victory if that can be repeated. It might be a bit presumptuous to talk about Washington when we still have to face the Pirates, but I have a feeling that their slide will continue after playing until the wee hours of the morning due to the rain delay last night.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: September 18, 2012

      I agree on the Nats starters, but overall, they simply offer the Brewers quality challenges each night (maybe with the exception of Lannan, although he’s pitching well).

      Let’s hope the Pirates are gassed; the Brewers need every break they can get.

  2. Bill says: September 18, 2012

    Should the Crew complete this amazing surge and take the last playoff spot, what would their rotation look like? I am not sure of the exact rules regarding player eligibility, but I remember in 2008 when they picked up Mike Lamb in September, he was ineligible for post season play. I know he was not on either by the deadline, but is the requirement that a player be on the 40 man roster or the 25 man roster by September 1st?

    Just curious who would be eligible with them already having shut down Mark Rodgers and the talk of possibly shutting down Fiers as well.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: September 18, 2012

      Good question, Bill. If I’m not mistaken, I gather that Fiers is not being shut down; at least I’ve read conflicting reports, or it sounds like the Brewers are ambivalent.

      Thornburg and Peralta should be playoff-eligible, which provide interesting playoff rotation options. I wonder if the Brewers will simply run a short rotation in the playoffs, due to the 1-game and short LDS.

      Marco Estrada lines up to play the first playoff game or any “final tie-breaker” games.

      • SecondHandStore says: September 18, 2012

        Assuming we would face the Braves, do you think they might switch around Estrada and Gallardo so that Yo pitches the play in game? He’d end up just pitching a day later.

        • Beep says: September 18, 2012

          I think you have to pitch Yo in the play-in game and then let him go again for game 3.

        • Nicholas Zettel says: September 18, 2012

          I think it’s way more important to have Gallardo get the 4 regular season starts. This thing is going to come down to the final day; the Brewers just aren’t going to have the luxury of switching up their rotation.

          As it is, the Brewers have their rotation set up in the best possible way to make the playoffs. After that, if they make it, it’s all gravy.

      • Bill says: September 18, 2012

        I would almost prefer to see them switch Fiers to the bullpen. His arm has looked real tired in his last couple of outings. Leaving a lot of balls up in the zone. We dont need another limp noodle in the rotation like Marcum last year…though Fiers fastball still has some zip.

        If they truly were going to have Thornburg start, they need to get him in the starting rotation soon.

Trackbacks

Websites mentioned my entry.

There are no trackbacks on this entry

Add a Comment

Fill in the form and submit.