When the Milwaukee Brewers‘ pitchers get away from Miller Park, they become some of the best hurlers in the league. In fact, Milwaukee’s staff had arguably the most dominant stuff in the NL when playing on the road. Expect more of the same in 2014.
Among the 15 NL franchises, the Brewers had the most road games where they allowed one or zero earned runs through eight innings of play. On 24 different occasions, Milwaukee’s staff shut down the opposition heading into ninth frame on the road, leading to a 20-4 record.
Just over half those instances included the starter completing seven innings, and the Brewers should expect to continue this trend during the upcoming season. Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada both executed the feat four separate times, while Kyle Lohse added two more starts of its kind, including a complete-game shutout against the Atlanta Braves.
That’s three-fifths of the expected rotation imposing their will 10 different times. Lest we forget, 2013 was Gallardo’s worst as a pro, Estrada made just 12 road starts and Lohse didn’t have the luxury of a full Spring Training. All three are poised to take their games to the next level, especially on the road where the parks and conditions favor their propensity to give up fly balls.
The newest addition to the rotation, Matt Garza, also found great success as a visitor. Garza allowed just a .236 average and .287 OBP away from his home park. Twice on the road, Garza gave up a single run through eight frames, and three other times he finished seven innings while giving up no more than one run. He’ll fit right in with Milwaukee’s traveling tendency.
You have to figure Milwaukee will play better at home than they did in 2013, so continuing their dominant stretches on the road could be the difference between a sub-.500 season and a legitimate postseason push.
The Brewers’ struggles at home last season were a bit jarring as their pitchers rated as one of the worst teams in the league in most categories. Their woes led to a 37-44 record at Miller Park, the Crew’s worst home mark since 2004 when the club went 36-45 during a 67-94 campaign. It’s hard to see that happening again.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee not only showed those aforementioned flashes of road brilliance, but the Brewers overall performance on the opponents’ mounds in 2013 was eye-opening. Overall, the Brewers’ staff was the top-ranked club in BAA, slugging percentage and OPS in the NL. They were also third in the league in ERA (3.49) and WHIP (1.225), proving those 24 dominating contests weren’t flukes.
Anticipate the 2014 Brewers hurlers to again be road warriors, setting up the club for an exciting season from coast to coast.