2012 continues to roll to a halt, and so we at Reviewing the Brew continue to look back on the year that was, and examine what we believe to be the finest aspects of a year that saw a lot of promise, as well as a lot of disappointment.
One of the most comforting parts of the Milwaukee Brewers team of 2012 was the starting pitching. With a few exceptions aside, the starting rotation of the Brew Crew was consistently giving this club a chance to win every time they stepped to the mound. Whether it was the high-paid star, the staff ace, the spot starter or the rookie, it seemed like every one of the starters knew what they needed to do and how to handle the pressure.
With so many great performances, it was hard to pick just one. So we didn’t.
Marco Estrada – September 29th, vs. the Houston Astros
If ever the “tough luck”" moniker could be placed upon a pitcher’s season, Marco Estrada’s 2012 campaign is a prime candidate. Estrada finished the season with a 5-7 record, despite hurling 10 quality starts. But on his last appearance of the season, he pitched one of the best performances of the season for any Milwaukee Brewers hurler.
Estrada notched his fifth and final win on the heels of an eight inning, four-hit, shutout performance that saw hims strike out 11 Astros batters while only walking one. He threw 77 strikes in 114 pitches, and only 21 balls were put into play for the entire game.
It was the fourth time in the season Estrada struck out 10 or more batters, and in the eyes of many fans it cemented him into the starting rotation for 2013.
Runner-up: Zack Greinke – June 22nd, vs. the Chicago White Sox
Greinke was only weeks away from departing Milwaukee to Anaheim, and this performance helped to prove why Zack was so valuable to not only the Milwaukee Brewers, but any team who could afford him. In a 1-0 win over Chicago, he threw nine innings of shutout ball with only three hits, one walk and four strikeouts.
It was a surprising performance mainly because of its efficiency – he faced down 28 batters in a mere 100 pitches over nine complete innings. He didn’t get the complete game – John Axford notched the save in the tenth inning – but he certainly made his case as one of the best pitchers in baseball today.
Second Runner-up Wily Peralta – September 16th, vs. the New York Mets
We’ve all been following Wily’s career for a while now, wondering when he was
going to get his time to start in the Brewers Blue. In his third Major League start, he proved to us that he was worth the wait.
Over eight innings and 104 pitches – 69 of which went for strikes – Peralta baffled the Mets, holding them to only two hits with one walk and five strikeouts during a stretch of play that saw the Milwaukee Brewers as a charging dark horse towards the Wild Card. He attacked Mets hitters, and the Mets simply had no answer for his pitches. It may not have been the hardest-hitting club in the league, but he made a statement nonetheless. When Wily Peralta starts dealing, it’s hard to say if anyone can touch his stuff.
So those are the pitching performances we think stood out in 2012. If you think we’re wrong please feel free to correct us in the comments below, or yell at us on Twitter. We’ll be back later with a look at the best Offensive and Pitching seasons of 2012.