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Brewers: Is This The Best Starting Rotation In Team History?

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 13: Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers prepares to throw a pitch during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at American Family Field on April 13, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 13: Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers prepares to throw a pitch during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at American Family Field on April 13, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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2008

Brewers
MILWAUKEE – SEPTEMBER 28: CC Sabathia of theMilwaukee Brewers in the locker room as he and the Brewers celebrate clinching the National League Wild Card after the game against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park on September 28, 2008 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Cubs 3-1. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images) /

Ben Sheets, CC Sabathia Dave Bush, Manny Parra, Jeff Suppan

The year before this roster was assembled was the first time the Brewers had a winning record since 1992, so there was plenty of optimism moving forward with this team. Ben Sheets, Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan were starters in 2007 and Manny Parra was moved to a starting pitcher in 2008.

Then one of the biggest trades in team history was made to acquire CC Sabathia for pitchers Rob Bryson and Zach Jackson, first baseman Matt LaPorta, and outfielder Michael Brantley. Brantley was really the only player that amounted to anything as he was a star in Cleveland.

The Crew went 14-3 in games that CC pitched, but that wasn’t the full extent of the success for the starting staff. As a whole, they had a record of 53-39 with a combined ERA of 3.65.

Sheets and Bush both had the second lowest ERA’s of their career in 2008 behind their 2004 campaign respectively. Sabathia had the lowest earned run average of his career in those 17 games with Milwaukee. In the playoffs it was the bats that let down the Crew as the offense only mustered nine runs in four games.

There were plenty of single-season records set in 2008 and Sabathia had his fingerprints on almost all of them. His name appears on 15 of the 35 major pitching “Top 10 Leaderboards” in Brewers pitching single season history and that all comes with more than half of his season in a Cleveland uniform.

Some of these numbers include: the lowest ERA in a season at 1.65, tied for first in win percentage at .846, tied for fourth in WHIP at 1.003 and the second lowest FIP at 2.44. He and Ben Sheets also are tied for eighth in team history for three shutouts in a season.

1982

Mike Caldwell, Pete Vuckovich, Moose Haas, BobMcClure, Randy Lerch, Don Sutton

How do you mention an all-time position group without mentioning the 1982 Brewers? Answer? You don’t.

This team produced the franchise’s second Cy Young Award winner with the closer being the first ever. Notice there are six names on this list and that’s because of the key addition of Don Sutton on August 30th in a trade with the Astros. Milwaukee actually had eight players start five or more games so it was really a team effort on that front.

Pete Vuckovich was the Cy Young award winner that year in a season that saw him go 18-6 with an ERA of 3.34 in 30 games started. Vuckovich also registered a jaw dropping nine complete games in 223.2 innings of work. He was the best pitcher on the staff, but you know the starter position group is deep when the Cy Young winner doesn’t even start the first game of the World Series.

Mike Caldwell started Game 1 and went nine innings only giving up three hits and no earned runs. The six mentioned above had a combined record of 70-42 with an ERA of 4.03, but much of the team’s damage was done with a bat in hand thanks to the likes of Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper, Gorman Thomas, and more.

This team created plenty of history including the team’s only World Series appearance in 51 seasons of existence. As mentioned above Vuckovich won the Cy Young, barely edging out Jim Palmer of the Baltimore Orioles who had a lower ERA and WHIP that year. Palmer had won the prestigious award three times prior to the 1982 season. Vuckovich is tied for fourth-most wins in single-season history with 18.

Mike Caldwell is also familiar with the record books as he is tied for eighth in wins in a season with 17, tied for ninth-most innings pitched with 258.0 and is tied for eighth-most shutouts with three. Don Sutton also makes an appearance on a list with the best Championship win probability added at 8.3.

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