Why do I do this to myself? Why do I read anything on the JSOnline, anything written by Anthony Witrado or anything someone paid Anthony Witrado to do? Do I hate myself? I read Anthony Witrado's last chat of the season and was constantly pissed off while reading it. People asking if Corey Patterson would be our 2010 centerfielder, Witrado fellating Lopez, Witrado saying that Braun or Fielder would net Halladay and just, well, everything. It was all bad. The thing that pissed me off the most though, was this quote from A-dub.
No manager in the history of the game could have taken this team to the post-season with the way the starting pitching was built. Nobody. As any manager does, Macha has fair criticisms, but he almost deserves and INC for this season because the tools weren't in the shed to properly live up to expectations. You will never win by hitting, alone. You NEED to be able to pitch. Some things people don't like can be pinned on Macha, but not that.
Apparently the Brewers had the worst pitching in the history of baseball this season and had no chance to compete. Which is funny when you consider that on July 1st they were in first place.
Now, I'm not saying that the pitching was good. It wasn't, but it was good enough to have them competing for the division crown at the halfway point of the season. It was good enough for them to be among the frontrunners in the National League Central and National League Wild Card races. Unfortunately, there were a few things didn't go their way.
- Manny Parra was awful to the point that he had to be demoted. He was expected to be the Brewers #2 or #3 starter.
- Dave Bush got hit in the arm with a line drive and had to go on the DL.
- After the loss of two starters Seth McClung and Mike Burns were forced into the rotation. They were not very good.
- Because they weren't very good the bullpen, which had been excellent, began to get overworked and suffered as well.
- Seth McClung after failing out of the rotation, got injured on his return to the bullpen.
- By the time Bush and Parra returned they were their usual on again off again selves and the bullpen was DOA.
Now, I am not saying that the pitching staff was good. I am just saying that there was certainly circumstances for their badness and if things break a different way maybe this team is a playoff contender. Maybe if they show a little more fight in July they make a trade. We'll never know, but this pitching staff wasn't put together that badly.Don't believe me? I'll prove it and I'll start with Dave Bush.
That's not a great season by any means, but look at those first two months. If he sustains that over the season, he's decent. Then in June he implodes. Why? He gets hit in the arm. A quick look at his starts:
- June 4 vs Marlins: Hit in the arm. 6IP 4ER
- June 10 vs Rockies: 5IP 3ER (110 pitches. This shows he really had to work for his outs.)
- June 15 vs Indians: 3.1 IP 8ER
- June 20 vs Tigers: 3 IP, 5ER
Shortly after this he admits to "arm fatigue" and goes on the DL until August 27.
In some ways Dave Bush is an allegory for the entire team. If you look at the pitching statistics and you look at the team record it all goes back to July. Everything that happened to the team can be tied back to the Bush injury.
All numbers in red are season worst. Just for fun let's take July out of the mix and move every month up one. If you do that the Brewers are 71-65 which still would have had them on the outside looking in, but they are still playing meaningful games in September.
The fact is the bullpen was overworked and the lack of depth in the rotation ended up killing the season. The three headed monster of Burns, Villanueva and McClung that made the extra starts in July and August had a combined starter's ERA of 9.79 and averaged just under 3 2/3 IP per start. That's not going to cut it.
So when you complain about the 2009 Brewers you can complain about the lack of pitching depth and you can complain about the individual performances of certain players (most of whom are pitchers), but you can not complain about the pitching as if it never had a chance to begin with. The offense was good enough to carry an average pitching staff, but thanks to injuries that chance was taken away.