The Milwaukee Brewers had some troubling performances at Miller Park in 2013, posting their worst home mark since 2004. Both the struggling pitching and banged up offense played a role with four runs being the ultimate barometer of success.
Last year, Milwaukee had the fewest amount of home games in which the pitching staff allowed four runs or less.
The Brewers held the enemy to under five runs only 39 times at Miller Park, even worse than the Colorado Rockies who owned the worst ERA in the NL (third-worst in MLB). When the hurlers were able to hold the opposition below five runs in a game, Milwaukee went 31-8, the second-highest winning percentage in the league.
To understand how few times the Brewers gave up four runs or less at home, the top two teams had 61 and 60 such games. The top four in this category all made the playoffs. No surprise there.
In fact, all five postseason clubs in the NL had at least 55 home games where they gave up less than five runs.
As I’ve mentioned in past articles, part of the problem stems from the type of pitchers the Brewers employ. Most give up a lot of fly balls, which in Miller Park, have a high probability of leaving the yard. The design and environment clearly give hitters an edge.
All is not lost, however, as Milwaukee’s high winning percentage when they can hold opponents down should give fans hope.
The reason for their success in these games comes from their combination of power and speed. Even last year when they were missing lots of firepower for most of the season, the Brewers were middle of the pack in home runs and runs scored.
Just a little better pitching and the return of the middle of their order will make a world of difference.
In 2013, the Brewers actually had the second-worst winning percentage at home when they scored at least four runs. While their record was 29-15 (.659), the three teams at the top combined to go 105-12 (.897).
Considering Milwaukee had the fifth-most games with the offense scoring four-plus runs, the Crew’s record should have been better; consequently, the blame falls squarely on the pitchers’ shoulders.
The improved rotation in 2014 and the quality depth they provide, while not full of aces, should be enough to limit the number of times visiting club’s break the four-run seal. Of course, the bullpen will also need to do its job, which is often a hit-or-miss proposition.
I’d bank on this group getting the job done.
I see the Brewers increasing the amount of games they prevent their opponents from scoring four runs from 39 to at least 50 contests. That spike in consistent pitching, along with the lineup’s thunder, will add enough home wins into the standings to put Milwaukee in the thick of a playoff race.