How Rare is a Three-Lefty Rotation?

I know, I know.  Another post about the possibility of having three left-handed starters in the rotation.  But hear me out — this is something that’s been very rare over the course of Brewers history.

The last time the Brewers had more than two left-handers make a start in a season was 2006, when injuries and ineffectiveness created a bit of a mess.  Five southpaws — Chris Capuano (34), Doug Davis (34), Zach Jackson (7), Jorge de la Rosa (3), and Dana Eveland (5) made at least one start with varying degrees of success.  There were also five lefties making starts for the talent-deprived 2003 squad: Wayne Franklin (34), Glendon Rusch (19), Davis (8), Matt Ford (4), and Luis Martinez (4).

Both of those instances involved plenty of guys making spot starts, though.  You have to go back to 1999 to find a season in which three lefties made more than 15 starts apiece, when Scott Karl (33), Bill Pulsipher (16), and Jim Abbott (15) took the mound for the Brew Crew.  The last time a trio of lefties made at least 20 starts apiece for the Brewers?  The year they won the American League pennant, 1982 — Mike Caldwell (34), Bob McClure (26), and Randy Lerch (20) were the three to do it.

Here’s the thing, though.  If the 2010 Brewers are going to compete for a playoff spot, they’re likely going to need 30 starts apiece from Randy Wolf, Doug Davis, and Manny Parra — and that’s something that’s never been done by a trio of lefties in franchise history.

Caldwell, Jerry Augustine, and Bill Travers nearly hit the mark in 1978 (making 34, 30, and 28 starts, respectively), but no one else has come close.  Admittedly, it’s a lofty goal.  Can the 2010 Brewers reach it?  They might have to, if the Brewers are going to keep up with the Cardinals in the Central or other wildcard contenders from outside the division.  We saw last year how quickly things can go awry if you rely on too many spot starters pitching below replacement level.  If any of this year’s three has to miss enough time to keep them from reaching the 30-start mark, the Brewers are going to be in trouble.  They may have improved their starting pitching depth this year, but they’re probably still not deep enough to stay afloat if there’s a significant injury.

On another note, just for fun — 24 left-handers have made at least 15 starts in a season for the Brewers…how many can you name?

 

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