Brewers rotation defying expectations at Miller Park

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With eight games separating the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central the two clubs are in very different phases heading into a Friday night meeting at Miller Park.

The Cardinals are battling the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers for a wild-card spot, while the Brewers are trading veterans as they attempt to rebuild.

But while the Brewers weren't expected to make much noise this year, their starting rotation has emerged as a major plus as the season has gone along.

Since posting a 5.07 ERA through their first 20 home starts Brewers pitchers Jimmy Nelson, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson, Junior Guerra, Matt Garza and Wily Peralta have combined for a 2.92 ERA over the Brewers' last 22 games at Miller Park.

Brewers starting rotation at home

First 20 games Last 22 games
W-L 9-11 (.450) 13-9 (.591)
ERA 5.27 2.92
Quality Starts 7 12
Opp. BA .287 .235
w/RISP .282 .209

The Brewers have also become much more patient at the plate.

From top to bottom, the Brewers' batters are swinging at fewer pitches outside of the strike zone this season, and are currently "chasing" on just 27 percent of the pitches they see, down from a league-worst 33.4 percent last season.

It's the lowest such mark in the National League, and the second-lowest in baseball behind the Toronto Blue Jays (25.1 percent).

MLB chase percentage

Year Percentage Rank
2013 31.1% 2nd highest
2014 31.8 % 3rd highest
2015 33.4% Highest
2016 27% 2nd lowest

Shortstop Jonathan Villar is leading the charge, and is now just the fifth players in Brewers history to register 25 extra-base hits and 25 stolen bases before the All-Star break.

Year Player XBH SB
1970 Tomm Harper 43 28
1988 Paul Molitor 28 26
2004 Scott Podsednik 30 27
2013 Jean Segura 30 27
2016 Jonathan Villar 26 28

Statistics courtesy of STATS LLC.