So, here we are. The 2012 MLB season officially closed yesterday, of course, not without some drama. Unfortunately for Brewers fans, our Milwaukee nine were far removed from the playoff-shaping drama yesterday. After 2011′s seemingly unstoppable club, after the replacement player and injuries saga, after the extremely hot August and September run, it’s time to enjoy the limbo between the regular season and offseason.
Last night the Brewers penciled young righty Josh Stinson into the starting slot, giving the 2012 farmhand and September call-up his first career start. The Brewers claimed Stinson off of waivers from the New York Mets, and the righty worked 145.3 IP for the Brewers’ Huntsville affiliate. Stinson worked 5.3 scoreless innings in the bullpen prior to starting last night’s ballgame.
Stinson fed the San Diego Padres a steady diet of fastballs. 49 of his 60 offerings were fastballs, according to TexasLeaguers, coming in at approximately 92 MPH. He delivered those pitches from his high-sidearm/low-three quarters delivery, releasing his fastball slightly closer to his body than his curveball. Those 60 pitches were efficient and effective for the youngster, resulting in three hits and two walks over four innings.
Between 2011 and 2012, scoring increased in the National League, by approximately 15 runs per team. Furthermore, the run environment at Miller Park remained favorable to batters. As a result, the Brewers’ league/park environment increased from approximately 688-695 R in 2011 to 703-710 R in 2012. The Brewers’ offense exploded in 2012, scoring 776 runs; unfortunately, the pitching staff wasn’t nearly as good, and the club allowed 733 runs in 2012. By comparison, the 2011 Brewers scored 721 runs against 638 runs.
Not surprisingly, the 2012 Brewers distributed their runs in more high scoring games than last season, but they did not succeed as frequently in those games. The biggest shift for the Brewers was in moderate runs scored games; when the club scored between 3 and 5 runs, their performance was not nearly as strong as in 2011. The Division Champion Brewers won because of their ability to succeed in close games and to succeed when scoring 3 or 4 runs. Not so in 2012, as the Brewers lost more 3-5 RS games than they won, and they won nine fewer games when scoring 3 or 4 runs.
2012 Milwaukee Brewers:
6+ RS: 52-14 (.407 of games)
3-5 RS: 27-31 (18 wins with 3-to-4 runs scored) (.358 of games)
0-2 RS: 4-34 (.235 of games)
.637 winning percentage with 3-5 RS and 6+ RS.
2011 Milwaukee Brewers
49-9 in 6+ runs scored (.358 of games)
40-21 in 3-5 runs scored (27 wins between 3-4 RS) (.377 of games)
7-36 in 0-2 runs scored (.265 of games)
.748 winning percentage with 3-5 RS and 6+ RS
Pitching clearly changed the balance of the 2012 Brewers. Even though they distributed more of their runs into high scoring games, they were unable to win those games at as strong a rate as their 2011 counterparts. As a result, even though the Brewers scored between 3-5 runs or more than 6 runs more frequently than last season, they did not win nearly as many of those games.
Perhaps last night’s game was as perfect a summary of the 2012 Brewers as possible — an inexperienced starter on the mound that did not pitch poorly, an offense than scored 6 runs, a bullpen that surrendered the lead. Indeed, last night’s 6-7 loss was the club’s seventh 6-7 loss of the season.
With last night’s stolen bases, the Brewers completed their 2012 power/speed sweep, leading the National League in both home runs and stolen bases for the first time since the 1996 Colorado Rockies. The Brewers’ combination of 202 HR and 158 SB yielded them a weighted Power/Speed number of 177.3, which brings this Brewers’ club close to the top 5 of National League power/speed clubs in the last 25 years. By my count:
1996 Rockies (210.5): 221 HR / 201 SB
2007 Mets (187.8): 177 HR / 200 SB
1999 Reds (183.8): 209 HR / 164 SB
1996 Reds (180.4): 191 HR / 171 SB
1987 Reds (179.8): 192 HR / 169 SB
2012 Brewers (177.3): 202 HR / 158 SB
As I mentioned the other day, the composition of the 2012 Brewers’ offense largely removed the gamble of running the bases, which allowed the club to maximize its running and power traits. Furthermore, manager Ron Roenicke has a few great options on his club to continue this trend into 2013. Should Carlos Gomez continue his power surge and Norichika Aoki remain an everyday option in right field, the Brewers have a great foundation in place for another power/speed frontrunner in 2013.
Finally, a thank you to my writing peers at Disciples of Uecker and our readers and commentators throughout the season. Thanks for a great 2012, with extremely interesting baseball work!
I am really looking forward to an offseason of analysis!