Over the next couple of days, I will break down the Milwaukee Brewers 2010 first half. Through their first 89 games, the Brewers are 40-49 (3rd place in the NL Central). They are 8.5 games behind the first place Cincinnati Reds and 10 games back in the NL Wild Card race.
I will first look at the starting pitchers and how they have fared thus far. Next to each pitcher is their first half grade.
Yovani Gallardo- A
8-4, 2.58 ERA, 111.2 IP, 122 K's, 48 BB's, 93 hits, 41 runs (32 earned)
What more can you say about Yovani? He's been really strong all season long and has turned it on the later it got. He currently ranks 8th in the National League in ERA, 7th in strikeouts and 9th in opponent batting average. He's been even better of late while his walks have started to decrease and strikeouts have maintained. If he keeps that up, there's no reason to think Yovani couldn't make a run at a Cy Young in the near future.
Randy Wolf- F
6-8, 4.56 ERA, 116.1 IP, 74 K's, 58 BB's, 117 hits, 66 runs (59 earned)
As encouraging as Yovani has been, Wolf has been equally disappointing. His walks are through the roof. His strikeouts have fallen. He leads of all baseball in home runs surrendered with 21. That's not to say all hope is lost with Wolf. He has pitched better of late. In three July starts, he has a 2.79 ERA and has shown much better command. It should be an interesting finish to the season for Wolf. Hopefully he is able to build on his recent success.
Dave Bush- C-
4-6, 4.14 ERA, 95.2 IP, 52 K's, 40 BB's, 103 hits, 51 runs (44 earned)
You will not meet a bigger fan of Dave Bush than me, but he just hasn't been that good this year. His walks are up and his strikeouts have fallen to troubling levels. Like Wolf, Bush struggled mightily at the start of the season and has rebounded of late. One of Bush's biggest assets in his career has been his control. Pounding the strike zone has always been Bush's scouting report. The Brewers could also decide to move Bush in the near future. He has been mentioned in numerous rumors so far.
Manny Parra- C+
3-6, 4.65 ERA, 69.2 IP, 71 K's, 33 BB's, 86 hits, 41 runs (36 earned)
Parra has been the victim of some bad luck thus far. He currently has a BABIP against him this season of .380. Although Parra has had high BABIP's in the future, that number is unheard of. He is striking out more than a batter an inning and walking only four per nine innings. Combine that with a very good GB:FB ratio and Parra's FIP (fielder independent ERA) of 4.24 is much more where his ERA should be. With Doug Davis coming back, I'm very worried the Brewers are considering sending Parra back to the bullpen. Developing Parra should be one of the main goals this season, not stunting his growth.
Chris Narveson- C-
7-6, 6.02 ERA, 86.2 IP, 71 K's, 35 BB's, 101 hits, 60 runs (58 earned)
Speaking of bad luck, Narveson also has had his struggles this season. His opponent BABIP is .338, which although isn't as bad as Parra's, is still pretty unlucky. Narveson's biggest problems have come with the gopher ball. On average, one of every eight flyballs against Narveson has left the ballpark. Narveson is giving up flyballs in nearly 40% of at bats against him, so HR's have been a problem. He has surrendered 1.35 HR/9, which ranks among the worst in the league. Even so, his ERA should be much closer to his current FIP of 4.71.
Doug Davis- F
1-4, 7.51 ERA, 38.1 IP, 34 K's, 21 BB's, 55 hits, 36 runs (32 earned)
Davis was signed this offseason to give the Brewers more depth to their rotation, but has been more a drain than anything. He has been injured for the majority of the first half and horrendous when healthy. It should really come as no surprise to fans what the Brewers have gotten out of him. He is pitching relatively consistent with his career numbers. He has always walked a lot of batters and has never struggled to get strikeouts. One of the reason I didn't mind the Davis signing was I thought they might be able to get something for his at the trade deadline, but with his injury and struggles, that may be tough. The worst thing that can happen right now is pitching Davis over a younger starter for the sake of saving face.
Jeff Suppan - F
Nothing more really needs to be said about Suppan.
Brewers Starting Pitching Combined- C
The combined WAR ranks near the bottom of MLB. Nevertheless, on paper they should be better. I'm really hoping the Brewers part ways with Doug Davis at the deadline and see what they have going forward. I'm expecting big finishes out of Narveson and Parra. Combined that with better command of late from Wolf and watching this staff down the stretch could be a little easier to stomach.
Stay tuned, I'll soon post the remaining grades for the relievers, infielders and outfielders.