Brewers record that will likely never be broken #9
Complete Games – Single season
Record: 1978 – Mike Caldwell – 23 complete games
It’s almost impossible to fathom a pitcher having 23 complete games in a single season nowadays. Pitching every turn in the rotation gives you about 34 or 35 starts a year. The idea of a pitcher being so good that they are allowed to pitch all nine innings of about two-thirds of those starts is ridiculous. It doesn’t happen anymore.
With larger bullpen staffs, pitch counts, and cautious managers, no pitcher will be able to complete 23 games on their own in a single season anymore.
The Brewers just went four whole seasons without a single complete game by any one of their starting pitchers. That’s how rare complete games are nowadays, even though the Brewers set a record for longest amount of time between complete games. They’re not “one every four seasons” rare across baseball, but they’re still pretty rare.
From 2009-2021, the Brewers have just 17 complete games combined between every starting pitcher in all those seasons. They had 12 CGs as a staff in 2008, with CC Sabathia contributing seven and Ben Sheets throwing five. The seven by Sabathia was and still is a lot, and even just finding someone to throw seven CGs in a season now seems like an insurmountable task. Getting an entire staff to throw 23 complete games? Won’t happen. Getting just one single pitcher to throw 23? Not a chance.
The Brewers have an incredible starting rotation right now, and if any group has the talent to throw that many complete games, it would be this one, led by the trio of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. But even these guys aren’t going to break Caldwell’s record of 23 complete games in a season. Maybe over the course of their careers they can throw that many CGs, but never all in one season. Craig Counsell, or really anyone you could put in to manage the Brewers, would simply not allow it.
The way the game of baseball has moved, probably every team’s franchise record for complete games in a season will never be broken again, the same goes for innings pitched in a single season.
There’s one more Brewers record that will likely and hopefully never be broken.