To say I am surprised by the Milwaukee Brewers’ first turn through the rotation would be an understatement.
I am delightfully enamored.
The Brewers are coming off a sweep of the Boston Red Sox in Fenway, and while the bats came alive and plated more runs than in the opening series vs. the Braves, it was the starting pitching that was the driving force.
Marco Estrada pitched five and two-thirds on Friday, giving up only one earned run on a solo home run.
Wily Peralta went five innings, giving up two earned runs (though poor defense behind him was responsible for three more), and fanning six.
Yovani Gallardo continued his impressive start on Opening Day with another scoreless start this afternoon, throwing six and two-thirds of shutout baseball.
And as a result of some excellent hitting dispersed throughout the lineup, the Brewers swept the Red Sox and have propelled themselves to a 4-2 start before heading into their series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.
And check this out: the Milwaukee starters have a collective 1.64 ERA and have held opposing hitters to a mind boggling .196 batting average.
Are you kidding me? I could picture this stat applying to the St. Louis Cardinals’ starters, and maybe the Atlanta Braves’ if all of their guys were healthy. But the Brewers? I’m floored by this – in the best way possible.
If this trend continues, with the starters pitching like this, there’s no reason why the Brewers can’t contend in what is arguably the most talented division in baseball: the NL Central.
Of course, success doesn’t hinge on solely starting pitching. A team needs clutch hitting and a solid bullpen to anchor the back end of games. The Brewers displayed both of those in addition to great starting pitching in this sweep of the Red Sox.
Relievers like Will Smith, Brandon Kintzler, and Francisco Rodriguez have been sensational, posting goose eggs in a combined eleven innings of work.
Logan Schafer delivered the go-ahead run in the eleventh inning on Saturday, and third basemen Aramis Ramirez is an excellent 6-8 at the plate with runners in scoring position. Khris Davis started to heat up, as did Jean Segura this past weekend, and the rest of the lineup all contributed in producing runs at some point.
The Brewers have the winning formula, it’s just a question of keeping it going.
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