History On Shaun Marcum's Side (Sort Of)

Yes, the Milwaukee Brewers' season now depends largely on Shaun Marcum. Which must scare the Brewers' fans and probably some of their players too, but doesn't seem to have fazed their manager. Jayson Stark:

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has never wavered. He will start Shaun Marcum in Game 6 even though Marcum's ERA in his past six starts is a gruesome 8.18 (30 earned runs in 33 innings).

So how unusual is it for a team down to its last game to start a pitcher with an ERA that hefty? We asked the Elias Sports Bureau. It reports that only one other pitcher in postseason history has started a potential elimination game after compiling an ERA over 8.00 in his previous six starts.

As Stark reports, that one other pitcher was Derek Lowe, who entered Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series with an 8.34 ERA in his previous six starts. Lowe pitched fairly well before getting pulled in the sixth, and of course the Red Sox wound up winning that game and eventually, shockingly, the whole ALCS after losing the first three games to the Yankees.

Even more impressively, Lowe won Game 7 of that ALCS with six solid innings, and the World Series-clinching Game 4 with seven shutout innings against the Cardinals.

All of this augurs well for Marcum in tonight's game and perhaps beyond.

One big difference, though: When Derek Lowe pitched against the Yankees in Game 4, he was exceptionally well-rested. Between his last regular-season start on 3 October and Game 4 on the 17th, he'd thrown just one inning. And because he'd been pitching so poorly late in the season and been knocked out of so many starts early, he'd pitched only 11⅓ innings in the previous month.

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