Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 9/19/12
For 26 straight innings, the Milwaukee Brewers' pitching staff hadn't allowed a single run. It was a magnificent feat for a pitching staff that struggled at times with its starters and struggled even more times this season with its bullpen. But for 26 innings, the Brewers had been practically unhittable. It took until the ninth inning of Wednesday night's game against the Pirates to change that, with an NL MVP candidate in Andrew McCutchen at the plate and closer John Axford's pitch left up in the zone. He slammed the offering for a solo home run, the only run any team has scored on the Brewers in three straight games. The bullpen had often taken the blame for much of the Brewers' pitching woes throughout the season, but their resurgence lately has taken away some of the spotlight from Milwaukee's interesting group of starting pitchers all but two of which didn't start the season in any major league rotation. And lately, with starters Shaun Marcum and Mike Fiers struggling a bit, Milwaukee's amazing 22-wins-in-28-games resurgence, at least through September, has been anchored by three pitchers in particular: Yovani Gallardo, prospect Wily Peralta, and former long reliever Marco Estrada. Estrada showed very clearly on Wednesday that he has been a force to be reckoned with at least since August 21 putting up seven innings of three-hit ball. His fastball, which many have learned to sit on with Estrada, was dominant on Wednesday, and his breaking pitches were just enough to induce the second-most groundballs he's tallied in a game all season. But that's been a constant for Estrada over his last six starts, as he's only allowed five earned runs in that span four of which came in his five-inning loss to Miami on September 6. Scratch that game from the record, and he's been nearly perfect for almost a month, registering four shutouts in that period. Gallardo, on the other hand, has been a different pitcher since Zack Greinke vacated the No. 1 spot in the rotation after being traded to the Angels. Since then, he's allowed just three or more earned runs in two of his last 10 starts. On Tuesday, he allowed just two hits in a 6.2-inning shutout against the Pirates. And finally, Wily Peralta who Ryan Braun said last week had the stuff to be the No. 1 prospect in baseball has been dynamite since joining the Brewers, having allowed just four earned runs in three starts and blanking the Mets in eight innings in his lat time out. That trio could be the key to any success down the stretch and possibly into the postseason, and if Marcum and Fiers were able to bounce back, the Brewers may be able to enter October with one of baseball's hottest rotations something few people would assume by just looking at Milwaukee's rotation on paper. But as Estrada showed on Wednesday, the Brewers' pitching staff seems to be primed, like the offense, to make a serious run. It's something that has Brewers manager Ron Roenicke very pleased with things on the mound. "We need the starters to hold these guys down and give our offense a chance," Roenicke said. "And night after night, it seems like they've been doing it. It has (been an incredible run). The bullpen is doing a great job, but the starters are setting the tone for what's going on. I do think offensively we've been really good, really consistent. And we're going to run against some pitchers sometimes that we're not going to be able to score off of, so it's really important for the starters to keep it down, and they have been." Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jim Ross’ wife Jan dies from injuries due to Vespa crash

Report: Larry Brown to meet with LIU Brooklyn about coaching job

Report: Jay Cutler garnering 'zero' interest around NFL

Paul Millsap to opt out of contract, become free agent

Martellus Bennett calls out NFL to do more to build up communities

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NBA disciplines Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez for fighting

Jason Day tearfully withdraws from PGA event to be with ailing mother

Matt Barnes on Derek Fisher chants: ‘I’m sick of that s—’

Brent Musburger admits he once bet on a game he broadcasted

Jeff Hornacek: Knicks will run triangle ‘exclusively’ next season

Reese Witherspoon to speak to women’s gathering at NFL owners meetings

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Box Score 3/22: Team USA is heading to the championship

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Box Score 3/21: WBC semis are bat-flipping fun

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

NBA Western Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

MLB players most likely to break out in 2017

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Eat, Drink, Watch: A weekend of March Madness and more

The 'Who will ruin your glorious bracket this year?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker