Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Brewers First Half Report Card: Starting Pitchers

The Brewers starting pitching has been their most obvious Achilles’ heel this season, so this piece was rather painful to write. Each starter has shown potential and has had a (small) handful of encouraging outings, but it seems like every time an individual pitcher takes a step forward one start, they end up taking two steps back their next time out. You know your season isn’t going very well when the biggest positives in your rotation come from spot starters out of the bullpen who are filling in for injured starters. Here are my grades for the Brewers starting pitchers for the first half of 2013.

Kyle Lohse; B+

Despite having a 4-6 record, Lohse has a respectable 3.43 ERA and has pitched better than his numbers this year. He has started 16 games and almost always manages to keep the Brewers in the ballgame the entire time he is pitching. He’s gotten terrible run support from the Brewers offense in most of his starts this year, so that explains his poor record. He has given up 102 hits and has only surrendered 17 walks in 102.1 innings pitched, giving him a WHIP of 1.16 on the season. With the exception of three poor starts (two of which could have been attributed to injury), Lohse has been good and is definitely the Brewers most consistent starting pitcher.

He has failed on the mound as well as on the road.
Yovani Gallardo; C

Yo is currently 6-8 with a 4.78 ERA in 101.2 innings pitched. He has started 18 games this season and is averaging somewhere between 5  1/3 and 5 2/3 innings per start. This is not exactly the type of production you want to see out of one of your supposed “top” pitchers. You usually hope for at least six and probably even seven innings out of your number two starter each time out, but Gallardo has had a difficult time even getting out of the fifth inning on a consistent basis this season. It seems like it takes him thirty pitches to get through the first inning every single time out and there have been multiple starts when he has failed to go more than four innings. He has struck out 82, given up 38 walks and has allowed 11 homers this season. Just when he seems to have found his “stuff” one game, he goes out and gets lit up in his next couple of starts. Although the Brewers defense hasn’t been the best this season, good pitchers will continue to churn out good starts despite having to get some extra outs. Gallardo has failed to do this, and seems to give up unearned runs more often than stranding them. His high pitch counts in early innings are a big problem and are something that he needs to work on.

Marco Estrada; C -

When it was announced in spring training that Estrada would be the Brewers’ number two starter, I knew this season would probably be less than enjoyable to watch, at least from a pitching standpoint. Estrada had impressive stuff in some of his starts, but in the bad ones when he was “off,” he was REALLY off. He has a 5.32 ERA and a 4-4 record in 12 starts for the Brewers. He walked 18 batters and surrendered 14 homeruns in 69.1 innings pitched. He is currently on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and recently suffered a setback in one of his rehab outings so the Brewers are unsure as to when to expect Estrada back. He averaged 5 2/3 innings per start, so unfortunately he fits in just fine with the rest of the rotation.

Wily has lots of learning to do still.
    Wily Peralta; D

Wily has a 5-9 record with a 5.27 ERA on the season. He has started 18 games and is only averaging 5 1/3 innings per start. Peralta’s outings this season have been an adventure, to say the least. He still has a lot of learning to do and progress to make in the big leagues, but with the team struggling mightily, this is a good year to work on his game. He’s a pretty puzzling pitcher to figure out, because it seems like he’ll either go out and throw 7 innings of shutout ball, or he’ll get lit up and not make it through the fourth inning; there’s really no in-between for him. He’s been pretty bad in the majority of his starts this season, but the Brewers’ defense hasn’t helped him out.  I have noticed a lot of times that after the defense makes an error or Peralta makes a bad pitch, he gets frustrated and tends to lose his concentration. This is definitely something that he needs to improve upon if he wants to have success in the major leagues. While it is unfair to hold young pitchers to as high of expectations as you have for more experienced pitchers, you can’t really afford to have your pitchers frequently failing to make it out of the fourth or fifth inning, especially when you have one or two other starters who have the same problem. Wily definitely has some more work to do in the big leagues, but on the bright side, it can really only go up from here.

Alfredo Figaro; C

Figaro was forced into the starting rotation when the Brewers lost other pitchers due to injury and poor performance. Figaro is now also on the disabled list, but did an okay job while filling in as a starter. He started the year in the bullpen, but Ron used him so minimally in April that sometimes I forgot that Figaro was even on the team. He is very susceptible to the homerun ball and that has shown in his last couple of starts. He currently has a 4.64 ERA in 21 games – 5 of those are games in which he has started. He has surrendered 13 homeruns this season, which is the third highest on the team after Lohse and Estrada (both have given up 14). Overall, an acceptable performance as a spot starter, but I think he is better suited for long relief out of the bullpen.

Donovan Hand; A 

I saved the best for last in case the first part of this article depressed you as much as it depressed me to write. Hand has only made two starts for the Brewers, but he was very impressive in both of those starts. He has appeared in 11 games this season and has pitched very well almost every single time out. Hand, who had been in the minor leagues his entire career up until this season, has a 2.63 ERA in 24 innings pitched. He has only walked 3 batters in 24 innings, which is pretty impressive. He has 14 strikeouts to go along with those walks and has only allowed 7 earned runs this season.  I know it’s pretty sad when the most impressive part about your teams’ starting rotation a is a rookie pitcher who has only made two starts, but hey, you have to try and find a positive somewhere otherwise you may go crazy. Hand has exceeded my expectations so far this season and I can only hope that he can keep pitching like he did in his previous two starts.

As you can see, the Brewers pitching has been pretty sad this year and could possibly get even worse if the Brewers find a trade partner for Lohse and/or Gallardo. However, the Brewers do have a few up and coming pitchers in the minor leagues who could be ready for next year, so not all hope is lost. Just all hope for this season.

Until next time, Beer, Brats, and Championships.

- Kristin Zenz (@10iskristin)

Follow us on Twitter (@WISportsBlog) for up to date news on the Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks, and Golden Eagles. We feature live, in-game commentary, breaking news, previews and post game discussions. Follow the entire Wisconsin Sports Blog writing team on Twitter: @AndrewVrchota, @jheldred, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @olewr7, @Stevie2Westside, @Mik3_Schu, and @10iskristin.

No comments:

Post a Comment