With one game left before the All-Star break–and Ryan Braun plus numerous fans wanting a trade for another starting pitcher–I thought that I’d offer some ideas of some other things that the Brewers could try to improve their chances of making the playoffs:
1. Start Yovani Gallardo on Thursday on just 3½ days rest. Gallardo is slated to start on the Sunday before the All-Star break, which usually means he would not pitch until the following Friday. But Gallardo is the only Brewers’ pitcher throwing well on a consistent basis, and having Gallardo start and not disrupting the rotation may give Gallardo one more start on the season…and be the difference. The problem, however, is that Gallardo will probably not be around to toss practice pitches during the break, disrupting his routine.
2. Move Braden Looper ahead of Jeff Suppan in the rotation. While both have been doing better of late, Looper has more strikeouts and fewer walks on the year, and would give the Crew a slightly better chance of winning games as teams re-align their rotations after the break.
3. Have Mike Rivera catch 2 starters. Rivera is younger and Jason Kendall should benefit from the extra rest down the stretch. Rivera has also only played in one game since June 27, and is beyond rested–he’s likely rusty. Of course, the Brewers don’t want to mess with Gallardo at this point, and Parra has had two great starts since coming back with Rivera calling his game. Assuming a rotation after the break of Gallardo, Suppan, Looper, Parra, Burns or Bush, it would make since to have Rivera catch Suppan, so that Kendall is catching every other start. If Looper his moved into the #2 spot, then he and Parra could be caught by Rivera, leaving Kendall to catch Gallardo, Suppan, and Burns or Bush. Downside: Kendall hit .282 in June, and has gotten a hit in his last five games.
These are just a few things that Ken Macha and Doug Mevlin could try…can you think of any others?