Melvin: Pitching dominance the key to Brewers' start
Apr 9, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Tyler Thornburg (30) delivers to the plate during the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Brewers defeated the Phillies 9-4. Image by Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The action in baseball starts on the pitcher's mound. So do the reasons why the Milwaukee Brewers have the best record in baseball at 16-6.
"Our pitching is as deep as it's been in a number of years," Brewers general manger Doug Melvin told 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
"They're pitching well together. That's why we are where we're at."
It starts with starting pitching, and Milwaukee's five starters - Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Marco Estrada and Wily Peralta have combined for a 10-4 record and a 2.57 ERA.
The biggest key for that starting pitching dominance to continue: health.
"You'd like to have four starters pitch at least 30 starts. That's what your goal is. With Estrada and Peralta pitching the way they (are), we have a chance for all five guys to maybe get 30 starts if they stay healthy."
Slumps will happen, so a 71.4% winning percentage shouldn't necessarily be expected to remain throughout 2014, but at least it's a fantastic sign of hope should they stay healthy.
If they don't, that depth Melvin talked about will need to perform, and they have options.
"You could take Tyler Thornburg...he could be a starter. Will Smith could be a starter. Jimmy Nelson in AAA is throwing really well, and Michael Fiers is back and throwing at the top of his game, said Melvin.
"You'd like to think you'd have to use seven or eight (possible starters), but if everybody stays healthy, which is the ultimate goal, you'd like to not use that many."
He said he would rather keep Thornburg and Smith in the bullpen "performing the way they have, which is also giving us a deep bullpen."
That bullpen rotation of Thornburg, Smith, Jim Henderson, Zach Duke and closer Francisco Rodriguez have also dominated. Each has more than 10 appearances. In those 58 appearances, they have a scintillating 1.20 ERA.