Ryan Braun, Mike Fiers and the Milwaukee Brewers Set to Face Colorado Rockies in Battle of Underachievers

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 01: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates in the dugout after scoring in the bottom of the 5th inning against the Houston Astros at Miller Park on August 01, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Brewers have a lot in common with the team they're facing starting tonight at Coors Field. While the circumstances of how they got to that point are different, the Brew Crew and the Colorado Rockies share the distinction of massively underachieving thus far in the 2012 season. The Rockies have injuries and a poorly-constructed pitching staff mostly to blame, while the Brewers haven't been able to overcome the loss of Prince Fielder to free agency, and ended up trading their ace, Zack Greinke, at the deadline to ensure that they avoided losing another player without getting anything in return. They've also really regressed in one area in particular. Read on...

Sure, the Brewers signed Aramis Ramirez to help fill the massive void left by Fielder's departure, and he's actually done a pretty good job at doing so; Ramirez has posted an .860 OPS/126 OPS+ while leading the National League in extra-base hits with 54. However, they've seen a steep drop-off in production from Rickie Weeks, and the shortstops have been even worse than Yuniesky Betancourt was a year ago (granted, Alex Gonzalez was lost due to injury early in the season). Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who is hitting .331/.374/.549, missed a couple of months due to injury, so that didn't help matters either. With all of that being said, offense as a whole hasn't been their problem; the majority of their players are league-average or better in terms of OPS+, led by Ryan Braun's 152 OPS+ and 29 homers. Hell, not even their starting pitching has been the problem; yes, they dealt Greinke to the Angels, but they still have a host of good starters such as Yovani Gallardo (3.78 ERA/111 ERA+), Marco Estrada (4.36 ERA, 5.38 K/BB ratio), and Shawn Marcum before he got hurt (of course). And now, they have this guy:


Michael Fiers

#64 / Pitcher / Milwaukee Brewers

6-3

195

R

R

Jun 15, 1985


W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2012 - Michael Fiers 6-4 1.80 1.01 80 16


Fiers has been magnificent in his rookie season, notching a strikeout per inning while maintaining a K/BB ratio of 5. He won't be this good forever, but he should be a serviceable starter going forward. He will be put to the test tonight in his first career appearance at Coors Field, although injuries have made the Rockies' lineup a shadow of its former self.

So, we've established that the Brewers' offense and starting pitching aren't the problem. So what is? Well, the bullpen has stunk it up, to be quite honest. Of every single relief pitcher to throw an inning for Milwaukee this year, only Kameron Loe (111) and Jim Henderson (130) have been better than average in terms of ERA+. The former has been the bullpen's anchor all year, while the latter has appeared in just nine games, though he's striking out almost 15 batters per nine innings. Notorious power arms such as John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Veras, and Manny Parra have all done a good job, as always, of striking people out, but walks have been a huge problem for those guys, while Axford and K-Rod have become unusually hittable, to boot. After converting 96% of his save opportunities a year ago, Axford has earned the save in just 68% of his chances in 2012. Yikes.

It should be a fun series to watch, particularly with the Brewers' high-octane bats. Once the Rockies get into Milwaukee's bullpen, expect even more fireworks to ensue. Bold prediction: the Rockies sweep the series 4-0 even though they only play three games. Boom.

Probable pitchers and more after the jump.

Monday at 6:40 p.m. MT (Root)

Mike Fiers (6-4, 1.80 ERA) vs. Jeff Francis (3-4, 6.06 ERA)

Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. MT (Root)

Randy Wolf (3-8, 5.46) vs. Tyler Chatwood (2-2, 5.06)

Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. MT (no TV)

Mark Rogers (0-1, 4.08) vs. TBA (Jhoulys Chacin?)


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Jonathan Lucroy 55 175 22 58 12 4 6 34 10 27 2 1 .331 .374 .549
Ryan Braun 106 408 73 124 21 2 29 77 44 94 19 6 .304 .383 .578
Aramis Ramirez 104 401 62 117 37 2 15 70 34 55 6 2 .292 .354 .506
Norichika Aoki 103 331 49 96 20 3 6 27 27 39 16 4 .290 .355 .423
Jean Segura 6 21 2 6 0 0 0 3 0 3 0 0 .286 .286 .286
Martin Maldonado 58 176 16 49 7 0 6 23 13 44 1 1 .278 .335 .420
Corey Hart 111 428 66 113 26 4 22 56 31 122 4 0 .264 .322 .498
Alex Gonzalez 24 81 8 21 4 0 4 15 6 15 1 1 .259 .326 .457
Edwin Maysonet 30 60 7 15 1 1 1 4 3 9 1 0 .250 .297 .350
Tyler Thornburg 5 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .250 .250 .500
Carlos Gomez 89 250 44 62 14 4 10 30 14 58 21 5 .248 .299 .456
Mat Gamel 21 69 10 17 2 1 1 6 4 15 3 0 .246 .293 .348
Travis Ishikawa 56 95 11 23 7 0 4 18 7 30 0 0 .242 .298 .442
Cesar Izturis 57 162 9 38 6 2 2 11 3 13 1 1 .235 .248 .333
Nyjer Morgan 92 242 37 55 4 0 3 10 17 48 10 4 .227 .294 .281
Rickie Weeks 109 394 50 85 25 2 12 40 56 127 7 0 .216 .327 .381
Zack Greinke 24 33 3 7 3 0 1 2 0 8 0 0 .212 .206 .394
George Kottaras 58 86 10 18 4 0 3 12 29 24 0 0 .209 .409 .360
Taylor Green 44 81 7 16 7 0 2 10 9 21 0 0 .198 .287 .358
Cody Ransom 54 145 17 28 6 0 5 24 22 68 0 1 .193 .299 .338
Randy Wolf 24 36 3 6 0 0 0 4 0 11 0 1 .167 .162 .167
Yovani Gallardo 24 50 2 7 2 0 0 5 0 21 0 0 .140 .140 .180
Marco Estrada 20 24 1 2 2 0 0 2 0 15 0 0 .083 .083 .167
Shaun Marcum 14 24 0 2 1 0 0 1 3 9 0 0 .083 .185 .125
Brooks Conrad 25 40 2 3 0 0 2 6 3 16 0 0 .075 .136 .225
Michael Fiers 13 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jeff Bianchi 7 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Mark Rogers 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Chris Narveson 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Mike McClendon 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Juan Perez 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Manny Parra 44 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Livan Hernandez 13 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
John Axford 50 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Vinnie Chulk 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Wily Peralta 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Tim Dillard 34 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jim Henderson 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Kameron Loe 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jose Veras 51 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Francisco Rodriguez 54 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Michael Fiers 6-4 13 12 0 0 0 0 80.0 65 17 16 3 16 80 1.80 1.01
Jim Henderson 0-1 9 0 0 0 2 0 8.0 9 3 3 0 3 13 3.38 1.50
Shaun Marcum 5-3 14 13 0 0 0 0 82.1 70 33 31 10 26 77 3.39 1.17
Zack Greinke 9-3 24 21 0 0 0 0 123.0 120 49 47 7 28 122 3.44 1.20
Yovani Gallardo 11-8 24 24 0 0 0 0 147.2 137 64 62 18 58 145 3.78 1.32
Kameron Loe 4-4 50 0 0 0 1 5 50.0 53 27 21 5 14 40 3.78 1.34
Mark Rogers 0-1 3 3 0 0 0 0 17.2 16 8 8 2 4 20 4.08 1.13
Marco Estrada 0-5 20 14 0 0 0 0 84.2 83 43 41 16 16 86 4.36 1.17
Tim Dillard 0-2 34 0 0 0 0 0 37.0 45 21 18 3 14 29 4.38 1.59
Manny Parra 1-3 44 0 0 0 0 1 45.0 43 27 23 2 23 52 4.60 1.47
Jose Veras 3-4 51 0 0 0 1 1 46.1 46 26 24 4 30 51 4.66 1.64
Juan Perez 0-1 10 0 0 0 0 0 7.0 6 4 4 2 8 10 5.14 2.00
John Axford 4-7 50 0 0 0 18 8 48.0 46 34 28 7 26 60 5.25 1.50
Randy Wolf 3-8 24 22 0 0 0 0 130.1 159 83 79 19 42 91 5.46 1.54
Francisco Rodriguez 2-6 54 0 0 0 3 6 48.2 54 32 30 7 27 47 5.55 1.66
Tyler Thornburg 0-0 5 2 0 0 0 0 14.0 17 9 9 7 7 12 5.79 1.71
Livan Hernandez 2-0 13 0 0 0 0 1 18.1 21 12 12 5 4 13 5.89 1.36
Mike McClendon 0-0 6 0 0 0 0 0 10.2 15 8 8 1 4 4 6.75 1.78
Chris Narveson 1-1 2 2 0 0 0 0 9.0 10 8 7 2 4 5 7.00 1.56
Wily Peralta 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 3 1 1 0 0 1 9.00 3.00
Vinnie Chulk 1-0 7 0 0 0 0 0 9.0 17 10 10 0 4 10 10.00 2.33


Milwaukee Brewers Injuries

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Chris Narveson shoulder 04/16/2012
Mat Gamel knee 05/02/2012

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