Brewers News

Milwaukee Brewers: How to fix the bullpen

Matthew Dewoskin
Jun 12, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Zach Davies (27) gets a pat on the back from manager Craig Counsell after pitching six plus innings against the New York Mets at Miller Park. Davies picked up the win as the Brewers beat the Mets 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Zach Davies (27) gets a pat on the back from manager Craig Counsell after pitching six plus innings against the New York Mets at Miller Park. Davies picked up the win as the Brewers beat the Mets 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Zach Davies, Milwaukee Brewers
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Brewers currently sit at 39-35 with a 1 1/2 game lead over the Chicago Cubs. They have a legitimate shot at winning the division crown. They also have a mess in between their starting rotation and closer Corey Knebel. Here’s how they fix it.

The good news is that Milwaukee Brewers already have the hardest piece of a bullpen to find. Corey Knebel has not just emerged as a closer this year. He’s fully broken out as one of the ten best relief pitchers in all of baseball. He owns 64 K’s in only 36 2/3 innings pitched. That’s good for a 15.71 K/9. He owns a sub-1.00 ERA. Corey Knebel has the ninth inning locked down.

The bad news is that there needs to be a bridge between the starting pitcher and the closer. The Milwaukee Brewers have a few intriguing pieces, but lack the complete bridge to the ninth inning. They need to get that bridge completed before the Cubs get over their hangover and come for the division lead.

It Starts With The Starting Pitching

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitchers have logged the second most innings in the Major Leagues this season. That’s too many. The starters need to find a way to be economical with their pitches, work deeper into games, and take the burden off the bullpen.

Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson have done well to work deeper into games. Junior Guerra is just back from injury and still working his way into form. Zach Davies has only logged six innings in three out of 15 starts this season. After his initial success, Matt Garza has failed to make it through the sixth inning in each of his last five starts.

The starters have to work deeper, and if they can’t they need to be replaced. This is Zach Davies third year in the Brewers rotation. If he hasn’t figured out how to make it past the sixth inning by now, he’s not going to.

Give the Triple-A Guys A Chance

Based on what he’s done with Colorado Springs, lefty reliever Brent Suter deserves an extended look at a middle relief role. Suter may own an ugly 4.42 ERA, but it comes with a K/9 over 9.00 and a BB/9 under 2.00. He can clearly miss bats and he doesn’t walk very many.

Tristan Archer has succeeded at every level despite his humble beginnings as a 21st round pick. He’s struck out 29 in 32 2/3 innings with only five walks allowed.

Even Wei-Chung Wang has more going for him at this point than Wily Peralta does. Wang only has a 6.55 K/9, but it comes with a 50% ground ball rate.

There’s talent at the Triple-A level, and they’ve deserve an opportunity to help at the Major League level.

Next: Can The Bartender Help The Brewers Bullpen?

The Milwaukee Brewers have a chance to add another division title to the rafters at Miller Park. The starting rotation needs to work deeper and guys who clearly aren’t cutting it need to go for that to happen. The Brewers have made a ton of moves in the past two weeks, and more may be on the horizon if the current crop of relievers can’t sort out their issues.

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