A baseball cliché you're likely to hear a lot during the playoffs is "good pitching beats good hitting." That is, except when it doesn't. Philadelphia, the team with by far the best pitching in Major League Baseball this season, is still trying to figure out how its staff of Cy Young and postseason MVP winners could have been eliminated by St. Louis in the divisional round.
While not nearly as dominant as Philadelphia's, Milwaukee's staff of solid starters and better-than-average relievers is probably most responsible for the Brewers' 2011 success. During the regular season, Milwaukee turned in baseball's ninth-best pitching performance with a staff ERA of 3.63, just ahead of St. Louis' 3.74. That compares to 26th (4.58) in 2010 and 27th (4.83) in 2009.
But the postseason has been a different story entirely. Over the first seven playoff games, the Brewers' team ERA ballooned to 6.10, thanks largely to the 12 and 10 runs given up by Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke, respectively, in their starts. Marcum, in particular, has been hard to watch lately. In his five appearances since giving up one hit over seven innings in Houston on Sept. 4, he's had just one good outing, and he's been unable to get past the fifth inning in his last three starts.
Can the Brewers lean on Randy Wolf, who was mercifully yanked after giving up seven runs in three innings at Arizona last week? Consider that Wolf has pitched twice in St. Louis this season and given up a total of two runs in 16 innings pitched. He's due to start Thursday night at Busch Stadium.