The Padres still hope to sign Chase Headley to a long-term deal. Read More.
General Baseball Talk
MLB Team Forums
How The Brewers Returned To The PlayoffsAndrew Phillips. 3rd October, 2011 - 10:37 am
After two seasons and a record of 157-167, the Milwaukee Brewers informed Ken Macha that he would not be returning to the team in 2011. They did not stop there. Bench coach Willie Randolph? Gone. Pitching coach Rick Peterson? Gone.
Then it was time to address the under achieving roster.
The 2010 Brewers, a team stocked with talent, finished the year with a 77-88 record, 14 games behind the division champion Cincinnati Reds.
With Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, and Yovani Gallardo leading the way, the Brewers still felt they had to make some serious changes in order to provide support for their stars. Chris Capuano, Jeff Suppan, Todd Coffey, Gregg Zaun, and Joe Inglett, among others, were not brought back. The starting rotation for 2010 included Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf, Chris Naverson, Dave Bush, Doug Davis, and Capuano.
The rotation for 2011 was overhauled in preparation for the upcoming season.
On December 6, the Brewers acquired pitcher Shaun Marcum from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Brett Lawrie.
Less than two weeks later, on December 19, the Royals traded for former Cy Young winner Zack Grienke along with infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to the Royals along with $2,000,000 for Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and two prospects.
Marcum went 13-7 while Grienke went 16-6, thus providing stability to the Brewers rotation throughout the 2011 season. Marcum served as the Brewers number three starter, while Grienke was dubbed the number two. Both of them could easily be top of the rotation guys for many other teams.
Francisco Rodriguez, the former closer for the New York Mets was traded to Milwaukee on July 12, 2011, which strengthened the bullpen, and took pressure off closer John Axford. Suddenly, Milwaukee had two seasoned closers for the final two innings. In 2011, if the Brewers were leading going into the 9th inning, chances are they would win. Axford finished with 46 saves and an ERA of 1.95 while striking out 86 in 73 2/3 innings pitched. However, Axford was not the sole reason for vast improvement.
In 2011, the Brewers led all of baseball with a 54-27 record at home, a vast improvement from a season ago when they went 40-41. Another aspect of the Brewers season which showed an immense improvement was their division play. While going 37-40 against the NL Central in 2010, ultimately leading to a third place finish, the team went an outstanding 51-29 against the Central in 2011. With these two factors combined, the Brewers won the NL Central for the first time in franchise history, and won a franchise record 96 games.