With Rotation Decision Looming, A By-Scenario Look at Potential Impact

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?

9 Comments

I like scenario 2 better than 1. I think the 4-man rotation of Gallardo, Estrada, Peralta, Lohse gives best chance to win until Fiers/Narveson/Rogers return. Don’t feel like Burgos is a sustainable Major League starter yet. A few spot starts here and there okay, but I’d rather keep him on track in his development.

Thank you for the comment!

I’m a believer in keeping the “every 5th day” in tact, at least at the start of the season, for as many starters as possible…I’d send Burgos to Nashville to make his start on Thursday.

If Burgos is going to stay in the majors, he will undoubtably be on a pitch-count. Having him up, they can manage that much better by going with scenario 2 var 1. If they brought him up to just “see what he’s got” then I would think they would have sent him back down again already, though Fiers couldn’t come back up for 10 days, so that may delay that decision anyway.

I, personally, would like to see Burgos pitch as much as possible. I haven’t been this excited over a prospect pitcher in a long time. He was the best pitcher for PR in the WBC and it seems to have continued, at least, to this point. I say give him a shot and see what he’s got. He looked better Saturday than I remember Fiers looking at any point last year. *shrug*

Must have forgot Mike Fiers had a 1.80 ERA at the end of July.

Yeah, I had forgotten that. I’m not saying Fiers had a bad season, at least I’m trying not to, but I just think Burgos as more to offer.

I like Burgos—Definitely not a pen guy, as his style lends itself to keeping hitters guessing deep into games. The fact that he throws more offspeed stuff than his fastball is testament to that, and he has excellent control and command. I think he’ll get some more strikeouts in future starts, and I like him to remain the fifth starter for as long as he proves he can maintain that position, or until someone proves they can do it better.

I like scenario 1 better. I think Lohse needs to fit in behind Gallardo, because Estrada and Gallardo are more similar than Estrada and Burgos. Peralta falling to the fifth spot wouldn’t be the end of the world, he still has a lot of work to do… as far as I’m concerned, I’d rather keep Burgos in the rotation at the moment than Peralta.

I’m in favor of keeping the 5 man rotation for the time being. The season is a marathon, and I am in favor of any way to get the starters some extra rest.

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