It is often said in baseball that pitching is the most important position for win ball games. If a starter can go deep into games, the chance of winning is extremely high. Simple enough, right? Well, that’s what the Milwaukee Brewers have been doing all season long. Led by Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta, the starting pitchers have been dominating. They have been the key to Milwaukee’s success this season. Teams are hard to beat when they have three All-Stars in their starting rotation.
Expect the Unexpected
Coming into the 2021 season, nobody knew what to expect from the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting rotation. Brandon Woodruff was assumed to be the team’s ace, as he had been in the previous two seasons, but the rest of the group was sort-of a question mark. Corbin Burnes showed flashes of excellence in parts of 2018 and a shortened 2020 season, but was awful in 2019, posting an 8.82 ERA. Freddy Peralta had been solid in his time with the Brewers, but had never been a consistent piece in a rotation. He had been known to give up lots of walks and homeruns, a tough combination to roll with for a MLB pitcher. In Spring Training, there was plenty of reason for optimism, but also plenty of reason to worry.
By the first month of the season, it was evident that the starting rotation had the ability to be dominant. Woodruff, Burnes and Peralta were all cruising through games. The only question was whether they would be able to keep it up. They did. Craig Counsell’s “Big Three” all became All-Stars and the Brewers are on their way to a division title in the NL Central.
Depth Produces Dominance
When it comes to pitching, it’s hard to find a group as deep as the Brewers. Even after Woodruff (7-6, 2.26), Burnes (6-4, 2.46) and Peralta (8-3, 2.18), Milwaukee still has reliable options.
Brett Anderson and Adrian Houser are the next two pitchers to come to mind. Houser is 7-5 with a 3.69 ERA, and Anderson is 4-5 with a 3.67 ERA. Both are proving to have very productive seasons, they’re just being overshadowed a bit by the rest of the rotation. The Brewers show up to every game with a starting pitcher that gives the team a great chance to win. That is incredibly scary for other teams, especially in the postseason.
As of today, the Brewers sit 7.5 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds for first place in the NL Central. A 7.5 game lead is a large one in baseball, and hard to lose in two months time, but with the way the rotation has been pitching, its almost surefire that the lead will be held on to. With three guys that can dominate ball games, and two more that give you a good shot at winning, it’s going to be extremely hard for the Reds to make up ground in this division.
Postseason Success Inbound?
With two months to go until the postseason, the Brewers sit in incredible shape. As crazy as it sounds, with a starting rotation like theirs, arguably no team is more primed to go on a long postseason run. Most teams have one or two aces on the team, but the Brewers have three, a recipe for success. There’s just too many guys with overpowering stuff.
Postseason baseball is all about shortening games and getting the game to your bullpen with a lead. All five of Milwaukee’s starting pitchers have the wherewithal to go deep in games. While not yet proven, today’s Brewers remind some of the 1990’s Atlanta Braves, a starting rotation featuring Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. While Milwaukee’s pitchers come nowhere close to the legendary status that the 90’s Braves have, the same type of baseline remains the same: a young group of pitchers that has grown accustomed to thoroughly dominating hitters.
However, there are certainly things that the Brewers need to fix before they are declared the favorite to win the World Series. Christian Yelich needs to produce more on offense. Period. He doesn’t need to return to MVP form, but a boost in production would be instrumental in postseason success. The Brewers could really use another hot, in-house bat heading into October. A boost in consistency on the offensive end in general would be huge. But with the way the rotation has been performing, postseason success in Milwaukee is expected, and a run to the World Series is within reach.
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