Milwaukee Brewers: The Top 5 Left-Handed Starting Pitchers in Franchise History
By Tom Kurtz
The Milwaukee Brewers have had a good amount of solid left-handed starters in their history. The top 3 are pretty clear, but the list of names behind them were harder to rank.
If you have been following the Milwaukee Brewers the past 15 years or so, you would realize the team has gone long stretches without a left-handed starter in their rotation. At other times, there were southpaws like Tom Gorzelanny, Chris Narveson, Glendon Rusch, and Manny Parra getting starts. Some of these lefties may have been decent for a stretch, but none of them would be good enough to sniff this list.
That being said, there have been some great left-handed starters in Brewers history. There also is a logjam of solid, yet unspectacular guys that could fall anywhere from #4 to #10. I think there was enough research done to get a pretty good Top 5, but debate is certainly healthy. There were definitely some tough omissions.
Missing the cut
I would be remiss in this space if I did not at least mention the incomparable Warren Spahn. This is a Brewers list, but Spahn is regarded as possibly the best left-handed hurler in league history. And he did it primarily in Milwaukee. The Hall of Famer made 17 All-Star teams, while winning an astounding 363 games over 21 seasons. That is the most ever by a left-handed pitcher. He needed to be mentioned.
The majority of Brewers fans know that Juan Nieves is the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter in team history. It was a magical night in Baltimore that was culminated by a diving catch by Robin Yount. Nieves did win 32 games in just 3 seasons, but after an arm injury in 1988 he never pitched in the big leagues again. He was only 23-years old when he made his last pitch.
Another name that is very familiar to Brewers fans is Jerry Augustine. The current analyst on Fox Sports Wisconsin telecasts had a very good career for Milwaukee. After being drafted in 1974 out of Kewaunee (WI) High School, Augie was able to pitch for 10 seasons for his hometown Brewers. He pitched on some very good teams, but was only a true starter for 3 of those years. He made his mark primarily in the bullpen, so he did not do enough to make this list as a starter.
There were some good names that could not crack the Top 5, but definitely did a lot in a Brewers uniform and deserve mentioning. They include Randy Wolf (it didn’t end well), Scott Karl, Bob McClure, and Brent Suter.
The final name to miss the cut was Chris Capuano. After digging deeper into the stats, his name was replaced from my original list. Cappy was a favorite of mine. I dealt with him a little bit during his playing career and he was always a stand-up guy. He was an All-Star for the Brewers in 2006 after an even better campaign in 2005. In that season, he went 18-12 with a league-leading 35 starts and a 3.99 ERA. He won 45 games in his Brewers career, with a 1.373 WHIP, and a 7.8 WAR. All very good numbers, but just not good enough to crack the Top 5.
Let’s start the list.