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Yeah, Shaun Marcum was awful, but let’s not kill Ron Roenicke for it

Oct 17, 2011, 9:15 AM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum adjusts his cap after giving up a three run home run to St. Louis Cardinals David Freese in the 1st inning of Game 6 of the MLB NLCS baseball playoffs in Milwaukee

My first impulse after Shaun Marcum‘s Game 2 four inning, five run performance was that he shouldn’t be allowed to start another playoff game this year.  Then, after thinking it over and looking up and down that Brewers roster, I came around to Ron Roenicke’s way of thinking: who the hell else could he pitch if not Marcum?

The answer that most people came back with was Chris Narveson, who had an ERA nearly a full run higher than Marcum’s in the regular season, walked more guys and allowed more hits than Marcum did.  Sure, Marcum has been pitching terribly and it didn’t seem like a good bet that he’d turn it around, but Narveson hadn’t been getting anyone out in the postseason either.  When left with two unpalatable choices, don’t you go with the guy who, if he remembers who he is, is capable of pitching the better game?

That’s what Roenicke did anyway, and it obviously didn’t work.  Marcum got destroyed and the game was all but over before it began.  But let’s not lose sight of the fact that after Marcum’s four-run, one-inning performance, Narveson came in and have up five runs in an inning and two-thirds.

So yes, you can be angry at the fact that Roenicke started Marcum if you’d like, but please, tell us all what the better course would have been.

  1. cintiphil - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    It looks like that Marcum and Grienke both were not ready to pitch in this series. That left only one pitcher the Brewers could count on, but then Wolf came through for them and was actually the best performer they had. Too little pitching and too much fire power for the birds. There will be a season next year.

  2. Joe - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    Bruce Chen?

  3. Francisco (FC) - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    So yes, you can be angry at the fact that Roenicke started Marcum if you’d like, but please, tell us all what the better course would have been.

    With hindsight, a bullpen game XD

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    What this series seemed to show, and I didn’t watch a pitch so I am going completely off the box-scores and what little I read/heard about it, is that to win in the playoffs you need one thing…BALANCE. Clearly, the Cardinals did it two ways…when they needed to slug, they slugged. When they needed to pitch(re: Game 5 of the NLDS) they f’ing pitched. The Cardinals had the best balance of pitching and hitting. They weren’t the best hitting team and they weren’t the best pitching team. But they were the most balanced team and that is why they are going to the World Series.

    Congrats to the Cardinals fans. Good luck in the Series.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      Thanks Chris. You guys will be back next year. Unless I am mistaken…other than your SS and LF…isn’t everyone else pretty much locked up?

  5. proudlycanadian - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    The Marcum for Lawrie trade looks one sided.

    • Alex K - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:17 AM

      Will it look so one sided if Lawrie’s second year is like Heyward’s? Injury to the shoulder and then the swing is off the rest of the year? It’s not good practice to judge a trade after only one season (plus, Lawrie didn’t even play the full year).

    • okobojicat - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:27 AM

      As of the all-star break, it looked decidedly one-sided as well, but in the other direction. There are two times when it is fair to evaluate trades – the day after a trade when we can project out values and thus say, Team X will probably win this trade, and then after all players have ended their contracts/time with their new teams.

      The Brewers have Marcum for at least one more year. The Blue Jays have Lawrie for 5 more. So in terms of WAR return, it is likely the Blue Jays will win. But at the time of the trade, everyone was pretty sure Lawrie wouldn’t help at all this year, and that the Brewers needed pitching to get into the playoffs. Was Marcum the “one piece” that pushed the Brewers into the playoffs? Probably not. But if you’re the Brewers and you’re playing in a 1 or 2 year window, and Lawrie has been so horribly defensively that it looked like his best position was DH, it was a good trade.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:05 PM

      It certainly didn’t look “one sided” when Marcum was carrying the Brewers during the regular season. Yeah…that hindsite has a way of making everyone look like Rocket Scientists.

  6. juicejuicer - Oct 17, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Did the Brewers not have Marco Estrada in the bullpen for the NLCS? He did a respectable job when he had a few spot starts for them this year. Including the begining of the season when Greinke was out.

  7. missthemexpos - Oct 17, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    The Marcum I watched in this years playoffs sure did not resemble the warrior that pitched for the Jays. At the time of the trade, I was big time against the Jay’s trading away another stud pitcher, following the Doc the previous off season. However as previous posters have said, way too soon to declare a winner, but I must say that it was enjoyable watching the brief glimpse of Lawrie we got to see at the end of the season.

  8. Lukehart80 - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    I don’t understand why so many people who had no problem with the Marcum deal three weeks ago are killing it now. The Brewers decided to go “all in” this season, knowing there was a good chance they’d lose Fielder, and 2011 might be their best chance at success.

    If you thought trading for Marcum was a good idea when he was helping them win the division, then losing the NLCS in 6 games shouldn’t change your mind. The team just had either its best or 2nd best season ever; Marcum was an important part of that.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:08 PM

      Absolutely Luke!

    • natstowngreg - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:15 PM

      You are correct, sir. It’s similar to when the Brewers acquired CC for the stretch; they had a small window in which they could win, and went for it.

      But the explanation for the changed perception of the trade is simple. What have you done for me lately?

  9. siftin thru nonsense - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Marcum is a good pitcher and a battler. Every pitcher has a bad outing every once in a while and he is also spent. In baseball, u can have good players that dont look good in short time periods even though their stats are solid over the long haul. I mean look at the Phillies.. after being the best team over 162, a short little 5 game series where a bunch of guys slump, ends their season. Stuff happens in short term and anything can happen. I mean Marcum is a lot better than Wolfy, but Wolfy did better in his last outing. Wolf was his horrible self though the outing before that. You cant base everything on one start , even if it is a super-important one. That’s baseball.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:49 PM

      Wolf’s season numbers would indicate he is not horrible also. Overpaid, sure but not horrible especially for a 4th starter

  10. brewcrewfan54 - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Im very disapointed how the Brewers season ended but it doesn’t take much looking to know why. The Cards made some great late season trades and/or pickups. Thats it. Their record wasn’t better than the Brewers but by the end of the year they were the better team. Cards led the league in batting average and scoring. They also led in bullpen blowups. One they added Furcal and shored up their BP they had a team that would have won the division if they had more games to do it.

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