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The Brewers' Bad Rotation and Labor Day Open Thread

Jake Westbrook
might just look
like a human, but he's not;
he's a grounder robot.
Yovani Gallardo
The rotation core's hard, though
their outside is pliant,
this rotation gas giant.


From the Brewers we get Yovani Gallardo, the one guy from the Brewers you'd rather not get. We worry about the back of the rotation on Viva El Birdos—it is one of the many things we worry about—but the back of the Brewers' rotation is substantial enough to concern Sir Mix-a-Lot.

It's—so—big. After Gallardo, whose ERA+ stands at just 102 this year, the Brewers haven't gotten a single start from someone whose ERA+ is higher than 86. (Jeff Suppan's is 91, not that it should be.) Randy Wolf is leading the league in walks, with 78; David Bush has allowed 27 home runs, second in the league, before qualifying for the ERA title. Chris Narveson, who may yet make himself better known for his own career than he is for being a part of the Larry Walker trade, has solid peripherals and the highest ERA of the bunch, for his trouble. Manny Parra, who strikes out a batter an inning but can't find the strike zone, was replaced last month by Chris Capuano, who hadn't pitched since 2007. 

Things are bad. And the worst part is they're bad all around.

You can blame it on defense, and there've certainly been better ones; Prince Fielder is immobile at first base, among other places; Rickie Weeks isn't at second for his defense; Casey McGehee and Ryan Braun are famously statue-esque, if not statuesque.  

For all that standing around the Brewers' pitchers are suffering a BABIP of .320, which is frightening. But what's more frightening still is that their BABIP could be below average and they'd still struggle—they've also allowed 504 walks, which is 15th out of 16 NL teams; they've hit 158 home runs, which leads the National League, but they've allowed 155.

When things go wrong with a potentially great rotation, you get the Cardinals' patchwork P.J. Suppsworthy (sounds like a casual restaurant) fifth starter; when things go wrong with a potentially useful rotation, you get a team that's reliant on the return of Chris Capuano. And the Cardinals, of course, get to start with Yovani Gallardo, who is striking out 10 batters per nine innings.

That said, if you're looking for a pitchers' duel, Gallardo and Duncan Cyborg Westbrook is a surprisingly good bet considering the next day features Narveson going up against Kyle Lohse, for a combined ERA of 12.45.