Brewers Guru put to the test!
Major League Baseball : News : Major League Baseball News
MILWAUKEE -- Every year, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin challenges his scouts to find at least one diamond in the rough. On the positional side, think Scott Podsednik and Brady Clark. For pitchers, think Doug Davis, Dan Kolb and Derrick Turnbow.
All have had their ups and downs, especially those three arms. But all have played key roles in Brewers uniforms over the last four years after coming to Milwaukee via waiver claims or Minor League free agent deals.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux likes to aim higher.
"Ideally, I'd like to find 12 guys like that," Maddux said, referring to the current size of the team's pitching staff. "You like to discover a foundation because a lot of guys don't really understand what their foundation is."
"What are your strengths?" explained Maddux, whose own 15-year Major League career ended in 2000. "How do your strengths match up against this hitter? Are your strengths better than his strengths? What's his weakness? Is your second-best pitch maybe better than his weakness? Those are the things that go into our scouting reports. Those are the things I look for."
Maddux -- "Mad Dog" in the clubhouse -- has a knack for finding those things, but his mettle as the team's pitching guru and his status as one of the game's most highly-regarded coaches has been tested this season. Even with the starting rotation back in tact and the bullpen on an upswing, the Brewers' 4.83 staff ERA ranks 15th in the 16-team National League, better only than Washington's. The bullpen has been the second-best in the league since July 28, but its 4.68 ERA still ranks last overall.
The runs are up from last season, when the Brewers ranked fifth in the NL with a 3.97 ERA, their lowest mark as a team since the 1992 Brewers went 92-70 with a 3.43 staff ERA. That also happened to be the last year Milwaukee finished with a winning record.