Wolf Finally Pitching to Expectations

July 26, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Randy Wolf  pitched for 7 solid innings giving up 2 runs off of 5 hits to the Cincinnati Reds tonight. .Milwaukee Brewers won over the Cincinnati Reds 3-2..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

The other day, I wrote that I thought Dave Bush was done, both as a Milwaukee Brewer and as an effective pitcher.  While Bush’s numbers have steadily gotten worse as this season has progressed, the opposite could be said for Randy Wolf.

Wolf has been a popular subject for stories by the team’s beat writers the past couple of days, most likely because he starts this weekend’s series against the San Francisco Giants.  The off day on Thursday gave everyone a chance to take a closer look at Wolf, who is pitching well for the first time since April.  After getting beat up in May, June, and July, Wolf rebounded in August to post a 3.65 ERA in 37 innings.  In 14.2 September innings, Wolf has only allowed three earned runs.

You can read about the adjustments Wolf made in two excellent pieces by MLB.com’s Jordan Schelling (and if you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow him @jordanschelling).  Wolf credits pitching coach Rick Peterson for getting him to think about his tempo while he’s on the mound.

Time will tell if this is just a temporary fix or if it’s the key to Wolf pitching like the possible #2 pitcher the Brewers were hoping he could be.  While I certainly don’t expect Wolf to continue pitching this well, I do still have hope that he could be the 4.00-ish FIP pitcher I thought he could be at the start of this season. 

As long as he keeps locating his pitches this well, his HR/9 rate — the likely culprit of his midseason struggles, in my opinion — will continue to be low.  Some continued luck with the defense behind him couldn’t hurt, either.

While he wouldn’t be the quality #2 or co-#1 the Brewers need in order to really be competitive in 2011, he’d still have value and wouldn’t be a total waste of money.  A team in the Brewers’ current pitching situation could certainly do a lot worse.

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