The Milwaukee Brewers are in the thick of the Wild Card race, and they may have to play a tie-breaker or a one-game playoff to make the playoffs. Who would start?
Starting pitching has been a challenge for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019. They’ve gone from a team that had a surplus of starters in Spring Training to a team that has been forced to piece together a rotation. However, if the team wins the Wild Card or ties the Chicago Cubs for the second Wild Card, the Brewers will have more work to do. But who would take the mound?
How about Jordan Lyles?
Jordan Lyles has been the Milwaukee Brewers most consistent starter in the second half of the season. Lyles has made nine starts in a Brewers uniform, and he owns a 2.39 ERA in 49 innings of work. He’s managed 41 strikeouts and only 17 walks while allowing seven homers.
Lyles has been solid, but is it all just smoke and mirrors? He also owns a 4.44 FIP which indicates that he is, in fact, getting a bit lucky. The Brewers have ridden his lucky streak so far, but what if his luck runs out in a do-or-die situation? The team can’t afford to bet on him in a one-game playoff. He might make an appearance, but he probably shouldn’t start.
Could Adrian Houser take the ball?
Did you know that Adrian Houser has been the Milwaukee Brewers second best starter since the All-Star Break? It’s true! Houser has made 10 starts and three relief appearances since early July, and he owns a 3.72 ERA in 55 2/3 innings. He has racked up 57 strikeouts against only 17 walks. He’s also only been tagged for seven homers.
Houser has been solid, but he lacks big game experience. He’s a fine option for rounding out a Major League staff or functioning as a swing man out of the bullpen, but Houser probably shouldn’t start a play in game.
Is there another starter the Brewers should go with?
Zach Davies, Gio Gonzalez, and Chase Anderson have eaten up innings for the Milwaukee Brewers, but they probably shouldn’t start a play-in game. All have ERAs over 4.00 since the All-Star Break, and none inspire all that much confidence.
So who starts?
Do you remember the ‘Johnny Wholestaff’ approach the Milwaukee Brewers tried last year? There’s a solid chance that they go with that again this year, and it’s probably the right way to go in a one-game playoff.
Drew Pomeranz and Josh Hader will have to handle the final four innings. Before that, Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell will have to play match ups, work with the available arms, and generally keep the opposition off-balance by switching up styles. Need a ground ball? Brent Suter comes in. A power arm? Jay Jackson slides in. Out of options? Matt Albers is still on the roster! The Milwaukee Brewers don’t have an ace or anything really close to it right now, so they have to win with what they have. That means having to go with an unorthodox pitching lineup to keep them in the game.