In most years when the Milwaukee Brewers would lose a starting pitcher like Matt Garza, they would be in trouble. Young pitchers who were not ready, or pitchers who were past their prime, would often be used as replacements. However, this year is not like most years. Instead of turning a pitcher with little expectations, the Brewers will not miss a beat with Mike Fiers in the rotation.
Through 17 AAA starts, Fiers was one of the best pitchers in the Pacific Coast League. He was among leaders in both ERA and strikeouts as he posted a 2.55 ERA and averaged 11.3 strikes for every nine innings of work.
But Fiers is not just a wide-eyed rookie. He brings experience to the mound with him as he fills in for Garza. During his first full major league season in 2012, Fiers was one of the Brewers’ most reliable starters. He went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA as he proved to be a consistent arm, racking up quality starts when others could not.
In his first start while replacing Garza, Fiers stepped into a mismatch facing former Brewer Zach Greinke in Miller Park. Instead of crumbling under the pressure, Fiers dominated, shutting down the Los Angeles Dodgers; he allowed just one earned run in eight innings of work.
In other years, the Garza injury would have been a dagger to the team. They would have had to either struggle through their own pitchers or trade top prospects to get a proven starter. This year, however, is completely different.
While it is only one start, Fiers showed with his poise and command that the Brewers do not need to look outside of the organization for a replacement starter. Although there is no telling when Garza will be back as he deals with an oblique injury, Fiers is more than capable of getting the job done in his absence. He is expected to not just be a substitute for Garza, but to be as strong as all the other Brewers starters have been all season.