Brewers Set to Rely on Lohse to Bolster Weak Rotation

Virtually every assessment of the chances of the Milwaukee Brewers this season could be summed us as “this team has a solid lineup, but...” The big "BUT" in the case of the Brewers is a pitching rotation that is universally questioned and seen as inadequate to get Milwaukee into the playoff picture.

The pitching staff has been bolstered significantly, though, with the acquisition of Kyle Lohse, who was 16-3 last season for the Saint Louis Cardinals. He was added to the roster on March 26, and it make take some time for him to adjust.

Whether or not that recent signing of the 34 year old can propel the staff to the capability of allowing the Brewers to make a run for a Wild Card spot or even a divisional championship remains to be seen.

Yovani Gallardo will also, once again, be relied on heavily. He was a workhorse for the Brewers, going 16-9 for the team last season. It is outside of those top two pitchers that the rotation’s weaknesses really become evident. Additionally, Milwaukee made only minor changes to a bullpen that was one of baseball’s worst last season.

To overcome the pitching deficiencies, the Brewers will need to rely on some active bats.

Milwaukee led the National League in almost every major offensive statistical category despite the loss of Prince Fielder.

Ryan Braun continues to prove he is one of the best in the game and is coming off an NL leading 41 home run season while batting .319 and batting in 112 runs.

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was the only Brewer with a better average, hitting .320.

Braun’s contributions are bolstered by contributions of other hitters, particularly three infielders. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez batted .300 while adding 105 RBIs and 27 homers. Additionally, first baseman Corey Hart (.270 BA, 30 HR, and 83 RBI) and second baseman Rickie Weeks (.230 BA, 21 HR, and 63 RBI), who came on strong last season despite a horrific average at the start at the plate, bring some additional power.

Hart may have a delayed start to his season due to January knee surgery, and veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez will fill in.

Japanese arrival Norichika Aoki made a significant contribution from the outfield in his first season adding 10 home runs and also had a sold .288 average. His continued development would only strengthen what is already one of the MLB’s best lineups. Fellow outfielder Carlos Gomez also batted .260 and contributed 19 home runs.

Manager Ron Roenicke leads a team that possesses one of the game’s brightest stars (Braun) and the team should have little trouble producing runs. However, whether or not they can be in the upper echelon of teams in the league will depend on pitching, leaving little reason for postseason optimism at this stage.

The team finished 83-79 last season, and the expectation entering this season has to be a record in the same ballpark.


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