It’s always a good sign when the season starts off with the question looming in fans’ heads, “Is this the best ____ we’ve ever seen?” And we definitely have an example of that this year in regards to the Brewers starting rotation.
In 2021, the Brewers have put out a five-man rotation that stands up with just about any other rotation in the entire league. As it turns out, it stacks up pretty well against other rotations in franchise history too.
The Brewers have had some very good starting rotations throughout their history so let’s see how some of the best ones stack up to the current 2021 staff.
Junior Guerra, Brent Suter, Wade Miley, Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin
We start off with the team that won the most games in franchise history with a combined regular season and playoff record of 102-71. This unit had a combined record of 43-34 and an ERA of 3.71. While there weren’t really any household names in this list, Jhoulys Chacin was the best out of the group with a 15-8 record and he had the most starts in the MLB with 35.
Interestingly enough, 2018 was the year that Freddy Peralta entered the big leagues and he even started 14 games for the Crew that year with a record of 6-4 and an ERA of 4.25. Brent Suter is the only one on this list still with the team, though he’s now in a different role with the club as the long relief or lefty specialist at times. Wade Miley was the only one that didn’t return to the club in 2019 after signing with the Houston Astros for $14.5MM, a year he went 14-6 in 33 starts.
In terms of individual records for a season, Chacin made an appearance on a few lists. He had the sixth-least hits allowed per nine innings in franchise history with 7.14, seventh-most games started with 35 and ninth-best Championship win probability added (measures how a player impacts their team’s chances of winning the World Series) at 2.9. Suter made an appearance on an all-time list as well with the eighth-best K/BB ratio at 4.421.
Randy Wolf, Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Chris Narveson
Ah, 2011…what a great year to be a Brewer fan. During the 2010 season, the Crew was arguably the best hitting team in the MLB, but their pitching lagged behind. GM Doug Melvin parted ways with Jeff Suppan, Dave Bush, and Doug Davis and replaced them with Shaun Marcum and the highly-coveted Zack Greinke.
Greinke was one of the most exciting acquisitions to date as the Brewers gave up a haul including Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi, and Jeremy Jeffress, but all Greinke did was succeed in a Brewer uniform going 25-9 in his two years in the Cream City.
This group went a combined 70-41 in 2011 with an ERA of 3.81. All five starters won double digit games and would lead Milwaukee to their first NLDS win in five games against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum each saw their highest win totals in their respective careers that season. Also, no Brewer starting rotation has had five guys start 25 or more games in a season since 2011. Marco Estrada was the only other pitcher to make a start that season having only started seven of the 43 games he saw action in.
Individually, Gallardo and Greinke etched their names in the single-season history books. Gallardo is tied for eighth-most wins in a season with 17 and tied for fourth-most strikeouts in a season with 207. Greinke has the second-highest K/9 ratio at 10.538 and eighth-most strikeouts with 201. This was also the team with the previous record for consecutive games with at least five innings pitched and one or fewer runs allowed.