The Brewers find themselves neck and neck with the Reds for the worst record in the NL central division. Their offense has been middle of the pack in the NL so far, and in fact they are second only to the Cubs in walk rate (11.0% to the Cubs 12.6%). But the pitching, particularly the starting pitching, has been putrid. The Brewers have the worst starters’ ERA by a large margin, and only the stench emanating from the Reds bullpen has prevented the team as a whole from allowing the most runs in baseball. Jimmy Nelson is the only qualifying Brewers starter with an ERA under 4.00, and that comes with a FIP that’s over a full run higher.
- OBP: Dexter Fowler (.449)
- ISO: Anthony Rizzo (.333)
- HR: Rizzo (11)
- R+RBI: Rizzo (63)
- wRC+: Fowler (167)
- BSR: Fowler (2.7)
- SP K/9: Jake Arrieta (8.84)
- SP BB/9: Kyle Hendricks (1.77)
- SP FIP: Hendricks (2.46)
- RP K/9: Hector Rondon (14.85)
- RP BB/9: Rondon (0.68)
- RP FIP: Rondon (0.97)
- WAR: Fowler (2.5)
- OBP: Ryan Braun (.434)
- ISO: Chris Carter (.338)
- HR: Carter (11)
- R+RBI: Carter (49)
- wRC+: Braun (167)
- BSR: Jonathan Lucroy (1.2)
- SP K/9: Jimmy Nelson (7.19)
- SP BB/9: Junior Guerra (2.50)
- SP FIP: Guerra (3.19)
- RP K/9: Thornburg (14.06)
- RP BB/9: Jeremy Jeffress (1.62)
- RP FIP: Jeffress (3.19)
- WAR: Braun (1.1)
K/9, BB/9, ERA, FIP, Projected ERA listed for each pitcher.
Anderson’s season got off to a good start, allowing no runs in his first two outings of the year with a 9:2 K/BB ratio. Since then it’s been ugly. He’s given up at least one HR in the five starts start since and failed to strike out more than four batters in an outing. The Brewers picked him up in the Jean Segura deal and it looks like his main value was to absorb innings. He’s got a good changeup (or changeups), but the rest of his pitches have been eminently crushable, especially his fastball.
Hendricks is quietly having another solid season, and he’s coming off a start in which he struck out eight batters. That was enough for Joe to leave him in well into the seventh, but Hendricks couldn’t put away the back half of the Padres order for the third time and Pedro Strop didn’t have his good stuff that day, and it was what it was. Still, you have to love when the team’s fifth starter is projected to put up 3+ WAR on the season.
Wednesday: John Lackey, RHP (8.75, 1.86, 3.54, 3.16, 3.36) vs Jimmy Nelson, RHP (7.19, 3.33, 3.51, 4.73, 4.18), 7:10 PM CT
Earlier this week on twitter I saw a promo pic of Lackey and did not even recognize him, since his mouth was closed in the photo. He is working fast and walking very few batters, so that’s about all I am willing to say that is complimentary of him.
Nelson faced the Cubs back in late April and gave up three runs in 5.1 innings, though his defense did not give him much help. He only allowed two hits but four walks and a jam caused by said defense was enough to chase him in the sixth. He is coming off an eight inning, two run start against the Padres and has been killing a lot of worms this season.
Thursday: Jason Hammel, RHP (7.97, 3.54, 1.77, 2.95, 3.82) vs Junior Guerra, RHP (6.50, 2.50, 4.00, 3.19, 4.18), 12:40 PM CT
Possibly Transformed Jason Hammel has been fun to watch so far this year, even though the expectation of just about every Cubs fan is that it will fall apart in the second half again. It remains to be seen if hanging around Jake Arrieta and his offseason (and in-season, judging from some innings so far) mechanical tweaks are truly a transformation or just the latest new stretching routine.
Guerra has on of the strangest paths to the majors that I have seen. He was drafted by the Braves in 2006 and bounced around their and the Mets low minors systems before falling off the grid in 2008. He showed up a few times in winter ball in Venezuela and reappeared playing in the Mexican League, indy ball, and eventually the baseball-mad Italian League. The White Sox then signed him to a minor league deal at age 30 and he posted a ~11.5 K/9 in 83 innings in the minors, mostly in relief. He got a cup of coffee with them and was claimed off waivers by the Brewers this offseason, who turned him into a full-time starter. Now as a regular for the first time at age 31 he’s held his own as a starter so far this year. He’s not someone who is likely to be on the next Brewers team that’s worth a damn, but it’s certainly a more fun story to look at than the Justin Germanos and Chris Volstads of past Cubs rebuilding year rotations.