Milwaukee Brewers: Starting pitching isn’t a need

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 02: Jhoulys Chacin #45 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 2, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 02: Jhoulys Chacin #45 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 2, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Brewers’ fans have been asking for a starting pitcher. However, their rotation has been pretty good, so how much of a need is it really?

If you were on Twitter on July 31, you know that there was an uproar involving the Milwaukee Brewers trading for a pitcher. There were rumors about Stearns reaching out to teams about starters throughout the trade season (Kyle Gibson, Zack Wheeler, Chris Archer, Matt Harvey, Kevin Gausman), but nothing went through. And after the clock hit 3pm, fans showed a lot of anger that the Brewers didn’t get a starter. But how important is it for the Crew to get one?

The Brewers rotation has been a concern for years. There hasn’t been a true ace for the Brewers since Zack Greinke and he only pitched for the Crew for a year and a half and didn’t have his best stuff. Fans have been looking for a guy that will throw seven innings and maintain an ERA in the low threes or high twos. They want that number one guy because when you look through the rotation, that number one is nowhere to be found. And that’s not a bad thing.

When you look up and down the pitching staff, it could be seen as rotation for a third place team. Chase Anderson, Wade Miley, Junior Guerra, Freddy Peralta and Jhoulys Chacin. They are all middle of the rotation guys.  And there’s nothing wrong with that. The way Stearns has set up the pitching, he added pitchers that aren’t stars, but have that potential to help the team. And that has worked for the Brewers this year. With the magic of pitching coach, Derek Johnson, and the fun in the clubhouse, this rotation is pushing for a playoff spot.

As of Aug. 1, the Brewers are ranked fifth in ERA among all MLB teams (second in NL) and ranked second in opponents batting average in the MLB (first in NL). They also have the most quality starts in the NL. And the teams that are in front in these categories? The Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. Those teams happen to be the best in the game right now. With the Brewers hanging around with those type of teams in rankings, it seems like pitching isn’t a “need”.

Looking at player stats, there is no one considered a “problem”. Anderson has had trouble with the long ball, but has made large strides as the season has gone on. Chacin has been the “ace” of the pitching staff despite his showing in Los Angeles on Thursday night. The team is 16-8 when he starts on the mound.

Peralta has some kinks to fix, but has been dominant with his sneaky fastball and good curveball (when he can spot it). Guerra has made a big impact in the rotation and Miley has made a comeback and has pitched dominant. *jinx knock on wood* since coming back from his injury. Overall, there isn’t a pitcher that is holding the Brewers down.

The Brewers may not have gotten a starter before the deadline, but they’re basically gaining two pitchers in August. Zach Davies is coming back soon from an injury and Jimmy Nelson is coming back soon after his sliding incident at Wrigley last season. These two are probably not the pitchers fans were looking for, but this gives Manager Craig Counsell more depth in the rotation, which has become a small issue with the injury of Suter.

The biggest reason a starter isn’t a necessity is the bullpen. People don’t understand how important the bullpen has been for the Brewers this season. Having two all stars (Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader), a former all star (Corey Knebel), and a veteran that’s been dominant all year (Joakim Soria) is something not a lot of teams have.

Also, don’t forget the hard throwing prospect who’s given up only two earned runs in nineteen innings (Corbin Burnes) and a few guys that will help the team get outs when needed (Taylor Williams, Dan Jennings, Mat Albers). When a team has this in their back pocket, it makes you forget about starting pitching.

The importance of the ‘pen showed a few days ago. On July 30, a game full of power outages and short outings, Freddy Peralta gave up only one run, but was out after the fourth inning. That’s when the bullpen came into play- four pitchers. five innings, two hits and one run. That’s impressive. Not a lot of bullpens can do something like that against an offense like the Dodgers.

Would a starting pitcher be nice? I guess. But is it a need? No. The starters have been quietly dominant all year and it seems like Stearns has a lot of trust in his rotation going forward. These are the guys that he wants to lead the Crew to a possible NL Central title.