The Milwaukee Brewers are operating from a serious lack of depth in their starting rotation. But can the replacements hold serve until top options return?
Going into 2019, there were already question marks about this Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation. Why didn’t they add anyone in free agency? Is going with three unproven youngsters a good idea? How will Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta work out? What happens if they fail?
We found out the answer to the last question of what if they fail, because we’re in that scenario. Well, Brandon Woodruff didn’t really fail. He got off to a little bit of a rocky start, as did all three, but he’s become their best starter. But now he’s down with an oblique injury and has missed the last three weeks.
However, Freddy Peralta failed in the rotation and Corbin Burnes has been a catastrophic failure this season. So much so that he’s all the way down in Double-A now to work things out.
Jhoulys Chacin has been ineffective and now hurt, Jimmy Nelson returned, wasn’t the same, and is hurt again, Zach Davies has been up and down, and now also hurt. The entire original starting five for the Milwaukee Brewers is either hurt or has been demoted.
So that leaves a makeshift rotation, with some uninspiring names.
The Makeshift Rotation
Currently, the Brewers rotation is comprised of Chase Anderson, Jordan Lyles, Gio Gonzalez, and Adrian Houser, with a Johnny Wholestaff approach on the fifth day. That is hardly a rotation that will put fear in opponent’s hearts.
Although Lyles has a small sample size, here are the ERAs for this group.
- Anderson: 3.71 ERA in 19 starts
- Gonzalez: 3.81 ERA in 11 starts
- Houser: 6.00 ERA in 9 starts
- Lyles: 1.59 ERA in 3 starts
Overall, those ERA numbers are encouraging, minus Houser, but in his last start, he went six strong innings and looked a lot better than he did in his previous starts.
Pretty much none of the Brewers current starters are capable of going very deep into a game. Then again, even when healthy, this group didn’t go very deep into outings, and it’s not just due to a quick trigger from Craig Counsell. It’s more because they generally can’t do it without getting lit up or reaching a high pitch count.
After reaching rock bottom in that series sweep by the Cubs, the Milwaukee Brewers have won six of their last eight games and most of that has been on the back of the starting rotation getting good enough starts for the offense to remain within striking distance. It’s only when the offense can’t get clutch hitting or the bullpen blows it that the Brewers have lost lately.
The rotation, despite lacking high-end talent and being pieced together on the fly, has kept the Milwaukee Brewers afloat over the last week and given this team some life. They’re still going to be very dependent on the bullpen and no one will be able to go past six innings in a start, but this is fine for now.
They’ve gotten the job done, but if the Brewers want to make October and get deep into the postseason, they’re going to need their best rotation out there. The return of Brandon Woodruff will go a long way, but will it be enough? We’ll find out in October.