Following Saturday evening’s victory over the Chicago Cubs, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was noncommittal at best to his immediate plans for the starting rotation.
That’s understandable to a degree because while Hiram Burgos pitched very well against the Cubs, the Brewers don’t need a fifth starting pitcher again until next Tuesday, April 30 back home against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.
We know that both Roenicke and his pitching coach Rick Kranitz prefer to use scheduled off-days as a way to help their starting pitchers get extra rest with the goal of staying healthier and however fresher into the summer. We also know that Yovani Gallardo in particular prefers to pitch on regular rest whenever possible. Though I haven’t the others involved, chances are good that they appreciate routine in kind.
Roenicke gets the final call though, and his decision regarding how his rotation will line up over the next couple of weeks does have impact. Obviously, Roenicke realizes this which is why he said that they are considering match-ups and their days off when determining how to proceed.
There are two main scenarios to be considered with some variables involved.
Scenario 1: Burgos remains in 5-man rotation, off-day ignored
-Variable 1: Burgos next start on 4/26
-Variable 2: Burgos next start on 4/28
Scenario 2: Fifth starter not used until April 30th
– Variable 1: Burgos will make that start, pitch in bullpen until then
– Variable 2: Someone else will make that start with Burgos being optioned to minors to stay on schedule and someone filling a bullpen role between now and then.
The fallout from Scenario 1, Variable 1 is twofold. First, it means that Lohse and Gallardo will continue to pitch consecutively for now. That’s probably something that Roenicke would have done anyway had Lohse been in camp all spring. Second, Burgos will follow Estrada in turn which could result in similar pitchers back-to-back but basically asks Burgos to pitch over his head in some match-ups.
In this, Burgos’ next three opponents are the Dodgers, Pirates, and Rangers. He would be the one SP to miss the Cardinals series at the beginning of May. Gallardo faces the Cardinals in either scenario, for what it’s worth.
Variable 2 for Scenario 1 allows the rotation to reorder itself back to how it was coming out of spring. Gallardo, Estrada, Peralta, Lohse, and now Burgos as the fifth SP. Here, Burgos faces the Dodgers and Cardinals for sure.
Scenario 2 gives us the following match-ups. Burgos gets Pittsburgh on 4/30, St. Louis on 5/5, and then there are off-days on both sides of the Texas two-step series on May 7 & 8 to negotiate again and determine the value of a fifth starter taking his turn.
I’d have to think that Roenicke will skip the fifth starter around the Rangers series because if he simply goes with extra rest, everybody will have six days off between starts instead of the usual four.
So there are the scenarios and some of their resultant impact. So I ask you, Brewer Nation, if you were in charge which timeline do you think will produce the best outcome?