What's Roenicke's playoff rotation?
Yovani Gallardo. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Next game: NLDS Game 1 vs. Arizona
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MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Brewers may have one of the best pitching staffs in Major League Baseball, but manager Ron Roenicke has a very interesting set of quirky circumstances to look up in trying to establish his rotation of starting pitchers for the postseason.
He has Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52 ERA), a dominant pitcher no matter where he pitchers, as his game 1 starter.
But then he has to decide whether to go with his home ace for game 2 at home on short rest, or go to the guy who has been better on the road on regular rest for that game 2 and risk missing him for game 3.
That home ace is Zach Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA).
When we say home ace, we really mean it.
How about an 11-0 record with a 3.13 ERA at Miller Park, versus 5-6, 4.70 ERA away from the friendly confines?
As for Shawn Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA), the Brewers' resident road warrior, he's 8-3 with a 2.21 ERA away from Miller Park and just 5-4 with a 4.81 ERA at home.
How do you counterbalance those factors against issues of rest (normally four days between games, though sometimes managers will have starters go on three days rest in the postseason)?
And do you pitch Randy Wolf (13-10, 3.69) at all?
Though he is 6-2 in the last two months of this season, he has given up five runs or more during a start at least four times in that same time frame.
A lot to think about, if you're Ron Roenicke.
Before I put out my ideas, I want to make it clear: I am NO Major League manager, nor will I ever claim to play one on the radio.
Like you, I am simply a fan, but I'm blessed to cover the sport on a regular basis.
So, like you, I am taking my liberties to come up with ideas of how to handle the starting pitching with each series:
NLDS vs. Arizona
Game 1 10/1 (Home) Gallardo
Game 2 10/2 (H) Greinke
Game 3 10/4 (Road) Marcum
Game 4 10/5 (R) Wolf (Gallardo in relief if necessary)
Game 5 10/7 (H) Greinke (Gallardo in relief if necessary)
My thinking is that you keep Greinke at home, even on short rest, because he had a relatively short outing (in terms of pitch count) against Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Then you set up Marcum for a critical Game 3 on the road, and bring Greinke back in Game 5 so that he doesn't have to face a potential Game 1 in Philadelphia two days later.
Still, you keep Gallardo ready to pitch in long relief in Game 4 or 5 if Wolf or Greinke falters in the early innings, a la Pedro Martinez many times for Boston in the postseason.
NLCS (assuming it's the Philadelphia Phillies, who are favored to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in their NLDS, but we all know the Cardinals have been incredibly hot, and we all know what happens when you assume)
Game 1 10/9 (R) Gallardo (or Wolf if Gallardo pitches NLDS Game 4 or 5)
Game 2 10/10 (R) Marcum
Game 3 10/12 (H) Greinke
Game 4 10/13 (H) Gallardo
Game 5 10/14 (H) Wolf
Game 6 10/16 (R) Marcum (Greinke in relief if necessary)
Game 7 10/17 (R) Gallardo (Greinke in relief if necessary)
The theory in using Gallardo three times, twice on three days rest, is that he will have been well rested by not having a start for eight days.
With this formula, you also only use Greinke at home, while taking advantage of Marcum's road domination by pitching him twice at Philadelphia.
Game 1 10/19 (H) Greinke
Game 2 10/20 (H) Marcum
Game 3 10/22 (R) Gallardo
Game 4 10/23 (R) Wolf
Game 5 10/24 (R) Marcum
Game 6 10/26 (H) Greinke
Game 7 10/27 (H) Gallardo
Give your comments and ideas below!