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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1971

Brewers
1982: Jim Slaton #41 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers a pitch during a game in September of 1982. Jim Slaton played for the Brewers from 1971-1977 and from 1979-1983. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Marty Pattin, Jim Slaton, Bill Parsons, Skip Lockwood, Lew Krausse

The 1971 pitching staff currently owns the lowest team ERA (3.38) in club history so I wouldn’t be doing the article justice if I didn’t include them. 1971 was only the third year of the franchise’s existence and second as the Brewers. Marty Pattin was an All-Star in 1971 and finished the season with a team high 169 strikeouts and Bill Parsons was second in the AL Rookie Of The Year voting after a season that saw him log 12 complete games.

This was a very balanced pitching staff that saw three different hurlers rank among the best in team history. Pattin had five shutouts in 1971, good enough for second-most in history and 36 games started which is tied for third-most. Parsons was right behind at 35 games started on the rubber which is tied for seventh most. Parsons and Jim Slaton each had four shutouts, good enough for third-most.

2021

Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, Adrian Houser, Brett Anderson, Freddy Peralta

The Crew have plugged in a handful of other guys to start games this year but this is the best starting rotation they have.

Despite getting so little run support you’d need a magnifying glass to see it, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes are smack dab in the middle of the Cy Young conversation. Freddy Peralta as the number five starter, is among the best arms in baseball in terms of whiff and strikeout rate while Adrian Houser and Brett Anderson have kept their team in games and induced tons of ground balls.

The starting pitching staff has already set records and we’re not even two months into the season. These five guys set the franchise record for most consecutive starts with at least five innings pitched and one or fewer runs allowed with seven games in a row.

Individually Corbin Burnes set the record for strikeouts by a starter before issuing his first walk and he’s the first pitcher in the modern era to have 40 strikeouts and no walks in a stretch of four games. Through May 23rd, these starters have a combined ERA of 2.78 and a WHIP of 0.979. When healthy, this unit is undoubtedly one of the best in baseball.

It’s too early to say if the 2021 starting rotation is the best in team history. Injuries happen and guys can regress during a season, but the start for the current staff has been historical. They are balanced from top to bottom and have two guys at the forefront that rank among the best in baseball. From pitchers that punch out hitters at high rates to guys that pitch to contact, they have it all.

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At the end of the season, we’ll have to revisit this question and see if this really is the best starting rotation in franchise history. What do you think?

*All stats via Baseball Reference

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