The 2014 season has been a nice surprise all around. The lineup was expected to hit for power, but the pitching has been key. So far the starters have been outstanding, one of the best rotations for Milwaukee in a long time. How good is this rotation? A fun comparison is to take the Brewers benchmark (1982) and see how they compare.
Like this season, in 1982 the Brewers went into the season as a known commodity at the plate. They weren’t given the nickname “Harvey’s Wallbangers” due to one-run games. If possible for a World Series pitching rotation to be underrated, the 192 staff may qualify. In 1982 the most used group was Pete Vuckovich, Mike Caldwell, Moose Haas, Bob McClure and Randy Lerch. Let’s compare to the 2014 rotation of Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Wily Peralta and Marco Estrada.
GO TO ACE
In 1982 there was no doubt who was getting the ball and that was Pete Vuckovich. The handle-barred Cy Young Award winner would win 75 percent of his starts, best in the major leagues. This year, Yovani Gallardo was sent out opening day and despite many great outings and an overall successful first half, he has shown inconsistency. At this point there is enough doubt to wonder whether Gallardo, Kyle Lohse or an improving Matt Garza is really the top pitcher needed for a win-or-go-home game.
Advantage: 1982 Brewers
In 1982, the rotation started most games with Jim Slaton, Jerry Augustine, Doc Medich and Don Sutton as fill-in starters (combined only started 26 games) and this season the Brewers five-man rotation have also taken the bulk of the starts. Having Jim Slaton and Don Sutton available is nice when making a run; however, the current trio of Jimmy Nelson, Will Smith and Tyler Thornburg have proved they are capable and ready should the need arise. It has been a long time (ever!?!) since the Brewers have had this many starting pitching options.
Advantage: 2014 Brewers