Brewers SP Support | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

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Brewers SP Support

By on July 21, 2015

On June 12, I compiled a chart that judged the support each Brewers starting pitcher received from the offense, bullpen, and fielders. On that day, Matt Garza and Mike Fiers received the worst support by far, while Kyle Lohse squandered exceptional support. As Garza returns to the mound against Cleveland, it is worth revisiting support since then, to see if anything has changed…

On June 12:
First, the June 12 chart. Not only did I count the runs scored by the offense, and the runs allowed by the bullpen, I also provided overall Unearned R% and BABIP, and compiled runs prevented just for fun. The “.500 Runs Average” is a way of expressing the average number of runs per 9 IP that each starter would have to allow in order to match the offensive/bullpen support.

Demonstration of “.500 RunsAvg”: assume a starter that works five starts and 28.7 IP.  If the offense scores 25 runs for that starter, and the bullpen allows 8 runs, that pitcher would have a window of 17 runs to reach .500 (25 RS / 25 RA). That means that over 28.7 IP, this pitcher could have a 5.33 runs average to reach .500. However, if his teammate worked 30 IP over 5 GS, but only received 17 runs of support and a bullpen total of 5 RA, that pitcher would need a 3.60 runs average to reach .500. Basically, if a starter receives exceptional offensive and bullpen support, they can perform much worse than an average pitcher and still have a chance to reach .500. A real life example using 2014 Yovani Gallardo:  the Brewers scored 98 runs in 32 outings, while the relievers allowed 44 runs. Therefore to reach .500 in 192.3 IP, Gallardo needed a 2.53 runs average. (This example should show that some pitchers indeed receive hideous support during a full season). 

Brewers Support (Runs Prevented) Offensive RS Bullpen RA Unearned R% BABIP .500 RunsAvg (Actual)
Matt Garza (-9) 44 30 8.9% .291 1.68 (5.40)
Mike Fiers (-3) 37 25 15.2% .381 1.74 (4.79)
Jimmy Nelson (0) 49 12 8.3% .273 4.54 (4.37)
Wily Peralta (1) 38 11 4.0% .322 4.50 (4.17)
Kyle Lohse (-16) 52 12 .323 4.82 (6.27)
Taylor Jungmann (2) 4
Tyler Cravy (2)
Tyler Wagner (-3) 7 1

June 12-present:
From June 12 onward, the biggest change is the Brewers’ offense. The Milwaukee bats have absolutely scorched the baseball, while the relievers continue to lay down the law during the back end of the game. As a result, every single Brewers starter had the opportunity to reach .500 with a merely average performance. In this case, it’s not fair to call Garza’s support “poor” during this stretch of games: even if the bats did not score many runs during his outings, the relievers were good enough to give him a window to win. Interestingly, even with this support, the Brewers starters were largely below average during this period of games.

Brewers Support (Overall Runs Prevented) Offensive RS Bullpen RA Unearned R% BABIP .500 RunsAvg (Actual)
Matt Garza (-23) 16 5 12.5% .393 4.13 (9.00)
Kyle Lohse (-24) 31 9 0% 3.03 5.94 (5.94)
Taylor Jungmann (11) 32 5 8.3% .273 5.28 (2.35)
Mike Fiers (-1) 40 9 0% .210 6.20 (3.40)
Jimmy Nelson (-8) 32 1 (!!!) 12% .331 6.64 (5.36)
Tyler Cravy (1) 3 0% .345 4.50 (6.00)

Note: I did not include Tyler Wagner or Wily Peralta this time around, since Wagner is working in the minors and Peralta sits on the disabled list. 

Looking forward, one wonders whether the starters will improve in time to offset potential failings in the bullpen, or more offensive cold stretches. Now, the story remains the same: Lohse nearly squandered exceptional support, Jimmy Nelson almost did the same, and Mike Fiers and Taylor Jungmann have pitched well enough to compete in front of nearly any type of support.

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