Milwaukee Brewers: Bullpen Showing Signs Of A Turnaround

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 03: Manager Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers walks to the dugout during the ninth inning against the New York Mets at Miller Park on May 03, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 03: Manager Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers walks to the dugout during the ninth inning against the New York Mets at Miller Park on May 03, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers bullpen has been a source of strife and criticism for fans and media alike so far in the 2019 season. But that group is showing signs of pulling it together.

The final two games of the Rockies series were quite stressful as the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff allowed 11 runs in each of those games. The bullpen just couldn’t stop the onslaught of the Colorado offense.

With the starting pitching already struggling through the first month of the season, the Brewers could ill afford their bullpen to continually melt down as well. Luckily, it seems that group is starting to pull it together and they’re showing signs of turning things around.

Achieving Better Results

The 18 inning marathon on Saturday night was the true test of that bullpen. If that group was anything like the one we’ve seen earlier on this season, that game would not have lasted 18 innings as they would’ve given up the lead way before then. After Junior Guerra allowed the tying run in the ninth, they slammed the door shut on the Mets until the 18th inning.

Pitchers like Matt Albers, Jeremy Jeffress, Corbin Burnes, Adrian Houser, and Taylor Williams stepped up when the team needed them most and covered all those extra innings. It was an especially strong step in the right direction for Burnes, who has had more than his fair share of struggles this season. With a newfound command of his stuff on Saturday, hopefully he can return to the rotation, where he belongs, soon.

Williams pitched four strong innings, then he gave up a run in the 18th, but was saved by Ryan Braun‘s walk-off single in the bottom half. Williams is rewarded for his strong and clutch performance with a minor league option the next day. He would’ve been down for a couple days and a fresh arm is needed.

Claudio has been looking better, Guerra has looked strong, and Josh Hader has gotten back to himself.

Back To Dominance?

Last season, the Milwaukee Brewers could weather not having their starting pitchers go 6+ innings because the bullpen was so dominant, it didn’t matter how long the starter went. They had enough guys who could cover multiple innings to keep people fresh and still lock down games.

While that group may not be there this year since Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff are considered starting pitchers, guys like Guerra, Houser, Williams, and possibly Chase Anderson will be the guys that are counted on for multiple innings.

Do those pitchers have as high of ceilings as Burnes and Woodruff? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get the job done.

Lowering The ERA

The Brewers’ bullpen ERA is down to 4.43, which is 11th in the National League. It’s still not an ideal spot, but it’s a lot better than what it was at not long ago.

The bullpen has allowed the second-most walks in the NL this season, which has no doubt played a role in their struggles so far this season.

But over the past few days this group has gotten the job done and pitched mostly scoreless outings. It’s a small sample size, but a very good sign that they were able to hold their own recently and they’ve looked a lot better in doing so.

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The Milwaukee Brewers need their bullpen to continue to step up, not only in the immediate future, but for the rest of the season as well.

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