Milwaukee Brewers Enter 2011 With Improved Rotation, But Is It Enough To Get Them Into the Playoffs?

The Milwaukee Brewers have had one of the most potent lineups in baseball over the last five seasons. Led by outfielder Ryan Braun and first baseman Prince Fielder, the Brew Crew have bashed and blasted many of the league’s top rotations into submission. 

However, there’s a reason why they have just one postseason berth in that span: pitching. The Brewers have never been able to find the right balance of hitting prowess and fireballing pitchers to make a consistent push to October. 

In 2011, the Brewers may have rectified that situation, grabbing Royals’ ace Zack Greinke and Blue Jays righty Shaun Marcum. But, will it be enough to take home the coveted postseason berth this fan base craves?

The offense will still score runs, behind boppers Braun, Fielder, Corey Hart, Casey McGehee, and even second baseman Rickie Weeks. They don’t always hit for average, but they’ve got good speed on the basepaths when they do get on base. 

The rotation has improved, although they do have issues. Greinke could be out until the end of April with a cracked rib, and without him, the Brewers lack a reliable fifth starter to complement Yovani Gallardo, Marcum, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson. With him slotted in behind Gallardo, it’s tough to find a real flaw in the Brewers’ rotation, although Narveson could do with a lower ERA. 

The real issues come from the bullpen, which is still as much of a black hole as ever. Other than closer John Axford, this team has nothing resembling a reliable bullpen arm, meaning that while their starters can keep them in games when their bats aren’t blasting, the bullpen could take them right back out of those games. 

In the end, I think the bullpen will be the biggest issue the Brewers will have to overcome. If they can piece together some semblance of a ‘pen, they could win the division. If they don’t, things could get interesting really fast in Milwaukee. 

Prediction: Milwaukee’s starters and offense are more than enough to keep them in the thick of the Wild Card race this season. Their bullpen ensures they probably won’t contend with the Reds at the top of the NL Central, but expect the Brew Crew to make a return trip to the playoffs this season as the Wild Card. 

For more baseball news, check out 2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Veterans and Rookies You Might Have Forgotten