After Thursday's Cactus League tilt against the Padres, Milwaukee's projected starters -- Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Chris Narveson and Randy Wolf -- have combined to post a 1.18 ERA.
"The fact that we're throwing strikes, we're gonna have better results," Wolf said. "That's the biggest thing. If we go out there, throw strikes, we're aggressive, we'll have good results."
Right-hander Shaun Marcum, who has been set back by shoulder inflammation but still could start on Opening Day as expected, has not yet thrown this spring. If you add Marco Estrada into the mix (six scoreless innings), the group's ERA drops even further, to 0.99. In all, it's four earned runs in 36 1/3 innings of work. Two of those came in Wolf's start on Wednesday against the Cubs.
"It's a good thing to be able to go out and put zeroes up," Narveson said after his outing on Thursday, in which he did not allow a run in 3 2/3 innings. "That's your goal. I think you're focused more on executing your pitches and, like today, in a couple situations with the first guy in, trying to keep him from scoring. That's something you're able to work on that you can't really simulate other times. It was good work and, obviously, the scoreless streak is nice."
The Brewers, who are fortunate to return the same group of starting pitchers from last year, can also expect Jonathan Lucroy to spend his second full year as the primary backstop and have made great strides under pitching coach Rick Kranitz. Wolf said Kranitz spent much of last season getting to know the pitchers, and can now enter this spring head-on.
"His second time around, knowing us and knowing what we need to prepare, in Spring Training, he can nip things in the bud so much quicker," Wolf said.