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The Starting Rotation

Adam McCalvy at the official site takes a look at the projected rotation for the 2006 Crew:

"We have a little more certainty, that's for sure," general manager Doug Melvin said. "Last year we had Sheets and [Doug] Davis, and then a lot of questions beyond that."

Despite Sheets' injury woes and 81 games at hitter-friendly Miller Park, pitching coach Mike Maddux got the most out of Brewers starting pitchers in 2005. Starters went 58-57 and ranked second of 16 National League teams with 796 strikeouts, fourth with a .253 batting average against and sixth with a 4.02 ERA.

It's still amazing to me that Doug Davis was 5th in the league in strikeouts.  Doug is racking up not-quite-Tom-Glavine seasons, and we're getting the best of 'em.  Just about everybody who took the mound in the first inning for Milwaukee last year deserves a pat on the back.

I do wish, however, that the myth of Miller Park being hitter-friendly would die a quiet death.  It doesn't take anything away from the staff to admit that in 2005, Miller was neutral.  In 2004, Miller was slightly pitcher-friendly.  2003?  Basically neutral.  The last time Milwaukee's home park was hitter-friendly beyond the margin of error was 1995.  

Now that I've got that off my chest, we can move on!  

Doug says:

"I think we have more certainty there, but you're always looking for more depth," Melvin said. "You're always two [injuries] away from having some problems. You always want more pitching and, just like other clubs, if there is another starter out there who could make us better, we would consider it."
In other words, we've got a smart GM.  Like a couple of other teams.  And unlike some others.  Consider the depth chart at this point:
  1. Ben Sheets
  2. Doug Davis
  3. Chris Capuano
  4. Tomo Ohka
  5. Rick Helling
  6. Dave Bush
  7. Dana Eveland
  8. Justin Lehr
  9. Ben Hendrickson
  10. Zach Jackson
  11. Dennis Sarfate

Oh, and Jose Capellan can start (though he doesn't like to).  I've always believed Matt Wise would make a great fifth starter if he wasn't pushed too far into games.  Then there's Mike Jones and Manny Parra coming back from injury--remember, neither of those guys has ever even had a bad season...possibly slot Wade Miller in there somewhere...this is getting ridiculous.

In other words, if some unfortunate team needs a whole starting rotation (hello again, Kevin), Doug Melvin is the man to call.