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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brewers Starting Rotation Thoughts

Answering fans' questions last week, Adam McCalvy of discussed how the Brewers should line up their starting pitchers for the first couple of weeks of the regular season. Of course, things might happen during Spring Training that would lead to a reconsideration of the starting pitching order, but most fans expect Zack Greinke to start on opening day, followed by Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson. McCalvy suggested a slightly different order, and I agree with him.
McCalvy suggested putting Marcum ahead of Gallardo. Now I know that Gallardo is our very own homegrown ace, and putting not one but two newcomers ahead of him may seem disrespectful, especially since he is considered to be a stronger pitcher than Marcum. However,  if handled correctly, off days in April will allow the Brewers to use Chris Narveson only once in the first two weeks and three times overall in April. This is nothing against Narveson-- he did a fairly good job last year, especially in the second half. But everyone knows that he is expected to be the weakest starter for the Brewers and that's why he's considered the #5.

If the Brewers put Marcum ahead of Gallardo and pitched everyone on regular rest regardless of off days, they could set it up so that their strongest pitchers face some of their biggest division rivals. This will allow them a better chance at a strong division start. The Brewers open the season against the Reds in Cincinnati, return home for four games against the Braves, and then host the Cubs at Miller Park. Setting up the rotation in this way will ensure that the Reds face Greinke, Marcum, and Gallardo, and the Cubs face Gallardo, Wolf, and Greinke, with Narveson getting a start against the Braves. Those match-ups sound pretty good to me, and Gallardo would still make the same number of April starts.

For those who care, here's how April would shape up, courtesy of

March 31 at Reds: Greinke 
April 1: off 
April 2 at Reds: Marcum 
April 3 at Reds: Gallardo 
April 4 vs. Braves: Wolf (L) 
April 5 vs. Braves: Greinke 
April 6 vs. Braves: Narveson (L) 
April 7 vs. Braves: Marcum 
April 8: vs. Cubs: Gallardo 
April 9 vs. Cubs: Wolf (L) 
April 10 vs. Cubs: Greinke 
April 11: off 
April 12 at Pirates: Marcum 
April 13 at Pirates: Gallardo 
April 14 at Pirates: Wolf (L) 
April 15 at Nationals: Greinke 
April 16 at Nationals: Narveson (L) 
April 17 at Nationals: Marcum 
April 18 at Phillies: Gallardo 
April 19 at Phillies: Wolf (L) 
April 20 at Phillies: Greinke 
April 21: off 
April 22 vs. Astros: Marcum 
April 23 vs. Astros: Gallardo 
April 24 vs. Astros: Wolf (L) 
April 25 vs. Reds: Greinke 
April 26 vs. Reds: Narveson (L) 
April 27 vs. Reds: Marcum 
April 28: off

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