The Brewers' front office has proven to be more aggressive when necessary, more patient when needed, and definitely more creative, and it's last part that they're going to need. April does not a rotation crown, and one of the reasons why I picked the Cardinals to win the division was the depth and options for their pitching, and I'm not yet sold that the Brewers have answers if they don't match last year's performance or come close to it. And I don't think that's a given for all of their starters. They had three All-Stars in the rotation. Are they going to duplicate that? And if they don't well ...
Let me get to the crux of it. The Brewers set a schedule that often bought their starters five days of rest between starters, not the four of a five-man rotation. Brandon Woodruff made 22 of his 30 starts with at least five days of rest. Corbin Burnes made 17 of his 28 on at least five days of rest on the way to the Cy Young Award, and Freddy Peralta had 19 starts of his 27 on five days of rest or more. They were effectively getting a six-man schedule.
What was the benefit? Well, it wasn't innings.
That group has combined to start 94 games since the start of last season. Only 24 of them -- 25.5% -- have been more than six innings of work by the starter. Only three of the 94 starts have been eight innings or greater, and all three are from Burnes.
Adam Wainwright had 17 starts in 2021 of at least six innings.
Woodruff and Burnes had a combined 18.
At some point the innings are going to catch up with the Brewers, you'd figure. Maybe not. Maybe the bullpen can withstand that. Maybe their depth of arms they can churn through will keep that going. But if not then the effectiveness of the bullpen will be frayed because it has to cover innings for the rotation, and that leaves them exposed for the next series, and a cascade can happen. And it's not like they've had an eight-inning stopper when such a thing does happen.
That, to me, is worth watching.