PHOENIX Talk about the Milwaukee Brewers' bullpen and the conversation will undoubtedly focus on right-handers Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford.
Last season, after Rodriguez was acquired the night of the All-Star game to set up for Axford, the back end of Milwaukee's bullpen was perhaps the best eighth and ninth inning combination in all of baseball.
With a top-flight starting rotation that regularly worked deep into games, the K-RodAxford combination effectively shortened games into seven-inning affairs. But on the rare occasion when a starter couldn't work deep, manager Ron Roenicke had the luxury of turning the ball over to some fairly effective middle relievers.
Milwaukee's bullpen ranked among the league leaders in several categories including WHIP (2nd, 1.22), ERA (5th, 3.32) and saves (5th, 47). They were near the bottom in total innings pitched (449.2), earned runs (166), losses 23) and hits (410).
Those numbers become even more impressive when taking...