By now everyone around baseball is familiar with the Milwaukee Brewers elite pitching trio atop the starting rotation. What most do not know is that the back end of the the starting rotation has been very good as well. This is a great “problem” to have!
Following Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta the rest of the six man starting rotation consists of Adrian Houser, Eric Lauer, Brett Anderson, and intermittently Aaron Ashby. As a whole, the Brewers ERA when a starting pitcher is on the mound is 3.17. This is second best across the league and if it stands would be a new franchise record.
Most recently, with Brett Anderson on the IL, it has been Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer stepping up for the Brewers with big pitching performances.
Over labor day weekend, Houser threw the team’s first complete game shutout since Kyle Lohse in 2014. He did so by throwing 76 out of 100 pitches for strikes and by starting 25 out of his 29 batters faced off with strike one. For the Brewers, it was 1,011 games in between complete game shut outs, the longest drought in MLB history.
As for Lauer, he has been on a tear since the end of June and has gone from a failed 2020 season to a key piece in the rotation. In his last 58.1 innings he has a 1.89 ERA and over his last two starts he has pitched at least seven innings in consecutive starts for the first time in his career.
Both of these pitchers are performing very well and have near identical statistics throughout this season. With the team potentially needing a fourth starter in October, this will be a fun “battle” to watch unfold over the last few weeks of the regular season.
Another name to consider is Aaron Ashby. He has performed quite well both as a spot starter and out of the bullpen. His confidence continues to grow with each outing and he has earned a role on this team going forward. With Houser and Lauer pitching extremely well, it is likely that Ashby continues to operate out of the bullpen, but player health will play a factor in this as well.
It is clear the the Brewers have a good “problem” at the back end of their starting rotation. This depth is just another reason why this year’s squad is special and it will be fun to see how the rest of the season plays out.
When Brett Anderson returns from the IL, giving starts to him, Houser, and Lauer will require the use of a six man rotation again, which the Brewers may or may not need. Milwaukee has more quality arms deserving of starting spots than they may have starting spots available. That’s a good problem to have, and one they haven’t had in quite some time.
It’s not just the top of the rotation that’s been excellent and worthy of attention this year, the bottom of the rotation has also done some great things.