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Opening Day Countdown: The 1971 Brewers

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The days are ticking by in a blur. Baseball is a mere 71 days away! To celebrate let's take a look at the '71 Brewers

What can I say about the 1971 Brewers? No really. I'm asking because I'm running out of ideas here. Of these last several articles this one has been the hardest to create. There's just nothing that really sticks out to talk about. The last two and the next two were easy enough. There was a sort of distinguishing characteristic to talk about. This is just another bad Brewers team.

Actually maybe there is an oddity about this team worth mentioning. It's one of the few examples of a Brewers squad that featured better pitching than hitting. Johnny Briggs was the Brewers only position player worth 3+ fWAR that year. But they had two pitchers worth over 3 WAR.

Marty Pattin made 36 starts, pitching 264.2 innings. He had a 5.75 K/9, 2.48 BB/9, 3.13 ERA, and 3.44 FIP. That was worth 3.4 fWAR. Joining him atop the pitching staff was Bill Parsons who tossed 244.2 innings across 35 starts. He had a 5.11 K/9, 3.42 BB/9, 3.20 ERA, and 3.53 FIP. He was worth 3.0 fWAR that year.

As an individual who was not around for this era of baseball, it's still staggering to me seeing those GS and IP numbers. Thirty three games started is pretty standard as the high water mark for most pitchers these days. Sometimes you'll see an ace go 34. Chris Archer was the only pitcher to do so in 2015. It's also infrequent that a pitcher goes much beyond 220 IP. There were only 7 in 2015 that hit that plateau with Clayton Kershaw's 232.2 IP being the most.

The last time the Brewers had a starting pitcher go just 33 starts was back in 2012 when Yovani Gallardo did it. Randy Wolf was the last Brewers SP to go 34 starts back when he did it in the 2010 season. I was surprised to learn Chris Capuano was actually the Brewers last starter to make 35 starts. That was during the 2005 season. The Brewers have had only 4 pitchers make 36 starts in their history. The most recent was Cal Eldred in 1993. If you're curious, Jim Slaton holds the record for most starts with 38. He did twice. One in 1973 and again in 1976.

The record for most innings pitched in a single season goes to Jim Colborn. In 1973 he made 36 starts and appeared in another ten games. Combined he threw 314.1 innings. He's the only pitcher in Brewers history to have thrown at least 300 innings.

Since 2000, Ben Sheets is the pitcher with the most innings in a season. During his 2004 season he tossed 237 innings. Next closest would be Doug Davis with 222 innings during the 2004 season. Since 2010, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo (x2) are the only Brewers pitchers to surpass the 200 IP mark.

The game has definitely changed a lot since the early years of this franchise. I think before long it's going to change even more. I for one am very interested to see in what ways those changes take form.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs