The Milwaukee Brewers are proving themselves as one of the best teams in baseball once again in 2022. They hold a 15-8 record which is good enough for the top spot in the NL Central at the start of May. One of the major reasons they are so successful early on: Pitching.
The Brew Crew have had one of the best pitching staffs in all of the MLB for many years now, and what they are doing so far in 2022 is extremely impressive, even for their standards.
A Stingy Staff
They are only less than a month into the 2022 MLB season, but plenty of teams have brought their best pitchers to the stage where they have showed off plenty. The Milwaukee Brewers are one of those teams. These are just a few of their early-season accolades.
They have an MLB 6th best and National League 4th best 1.16 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched). Additionally, they hold a strong 3.01 team ERA which is 4th best in the MLB and 3rd best in the National League behind only the New York Mets (2.99) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2.33). They also stand strong behind the Mets and Dodgers with a spectacular .204 BAA (batting average against).
They are not giving hitters a lot to work with, espcially since they are dominating one specific area better than anyone once again: strikeouts.
They boast an MLB best 234 strikeouts. This is a team that finished last season with an MLB best 1,618 strikeouts as they were the only team to strikeout more than 1,600 batters.
Last year’s NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes is a major factor in these numbers. He finished 2021 with an MLB 5th best 234 strikeouts. He has continued that on into this season as he currently holds an MLB best 43 strikeouts after only five starts.
On Sunday against the Chicago Cubs, where he, unfortunately, took a loss, he threw a gem. Burnes went seven innings giving up only two runs and striking out 11 batters. This was his third consecutive start with 10 or more strikeouts. He became only the second Brewer ever to do that behind Yovani Gallardo in 2011.
Outside of the well-known star of Burnes, the Brewers have also gotten some incredible performances from late rotation starter Eric Lauer. In his last two starts against the Philadelphia Phillies and Cubs he went 13 innings striking out 24 batters. He has brought his season total up to an MLB 6th best 34.
Not to mention the Brewers incredible closer Josh Hader who has once again been perfect this season as he is 10 for 10 in save opportunities. In his 9.1 innings pitched he has only given up two hits and four walks compared to 15 strikeouts. He looks poised to once again claim the NL Reliever of the Year.
Two or Less
All of these stats are impressive to say the least, but it is important to see how they translate to a top-tier team. This is a team is being successful in ways that not many others can keep pace with.
Only 23 games into the season, this pitching staff has had 13 games where they have allowed two or fewer runs. That is 56% of their games. In those 13 games, they have only given up a combined 19 runs. That is an absolutely insane stat to comprehend.
How does this compare to previous seasons? In 2019 it took the Crew 44 games, an extra 21 games before they reached that feat. In 2021 it took 34 games. That is an extra 11 games, yet, they did have the edge as they only gave up 14 runs in those 13 games.
How does this compare to the rest of the MLB in 2022? With the incredible pitching staffs across the nation, only seven teams have done it 10 or more times. The only other team to reach the same height of success as the Crew so early on is the San Fransisco Giants who have also done it 13 times. The teams with the fewest? The Pittsburgh Pirates with three and the MLB worst 3-19 Cinncinati Reds who have only done it twice.
Pitching has definitely been ahead of the hitting early on this season, but giving up this few of runs this early on in the season is unprecedented.
This Milwaukee Brewers team has not been perfect on the offensive side of things, but their pitching has been superb. They keep finding ways to win, especially in a lot of close games. If this team can get some consistent hitting in addition to the pitching from Burnes, Lauer and Hader then this team will be incredibly tough to beat.
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