One of the most important rules to finding success as an MLB pitcher is to keep the ball inside of the ballpark. This year, Milwaukee Brewers pitchers have struggled to do that more than most other teams in the league.
Take last night, for example. The Brewers built themselves an early 2-0 lead over the Orioles off of back-to-back RBI singles by Brian Anderson and Abraham Toro only to see the lead immediately evaporate when starter Freddy Peralta gave up a two-run bomb in the very next inning. Later, reliever Joel Payamps would surrender a solo shot to put the Crew behind, though they would eventually come back and win.
In the game before that, Milwaukee missed a chance to sweep the Reds when they lost the series finale 2-0 by giving up two solo homers. Luckily the Brewers won the previous three games against Cincinnati, though they served up at least one home run in each of them.
The Brewers currently sit at 33-28 and have a half game lead over the Pirates for first in the NL Central. As their offense has struggled at times, solid pitching has mostly led the way to that division lead, though imagine how much bigger the lead could be without some of those untimely home runs.
Though they have largely performed well as a unit, Brewers pitchers have been getting burned by home runs.
Coming into June 7th, Milwaukee pitchers have served up 82 home runs to opposing batters on the season. That ties with the Washington Nationals for the highest mark in the National League and is also the fourth most in all of baseball.
Of those 82, 53 of them have been given up by Brewers starters, which is the third most among NL starters and tied for sixth most in MLB. That may not be terribly surprising when you consider the injured state of their rotation.
Because of that, it's been up to Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta to lead the way. Burnes has posted a solid 3.75 ERA and 1.177 WHIP on the season but his rate of 1.3 HR/9 is his highest mark since his forgettable 2019 campaign. Peralta is even a bit higher at 1.5 HR/9, a mark he exceeded only one time in his career back also back in 2019 (1.6).
Meanwhile Eric Lauer's home run rate (2.7) is at the highest of his career while Wade Miley's (1.3) is at its highest since 2017.
Over in the bullpen, the results are a little bit better. Milwaukee relievers have given up 29 homers, which is sixth most in the NL and tied for ninth most in MLB. That's an improvement over last year when they gave up the second most long bombs in all of MLB.
Amazingly enough, there are only two relievers who haven't given up a homer yet in 2023: Trevor Megill, who has only thrown 9.2 innings this season, and Alex Claudio, who has thrown all of one and isn't even on the roster anymore. Even dominant closer Devin Williams, who has a sparkling 0.44 ERA and 0.823 WHIP has given up a lone homer this year.
All things considered, the Brewers pitching staff has performed well enough here in the 2023 season. But if they could keep the ball inside the park a little bit more, they could save themselves a lot of stress (and maybe have fewer close games) going forward.