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5 Unheralded Brewers Complete Games of the Last Ten Years

(Image: Reuters)

I had the pleasure of being at Kyle Lohse’s complete game against the Reds on Friday.  Since the Ron Roenicke has a reputation for not putting much emphasis on pitching CGs, it is noteworthy the Brewers will finish their disappointing 2013 season with at least three.

Although it was a novel experience for those of us in attendance, Lohse’s CG will likely be forgotten in short order, happening as it did in the most forgettable Brewers season in some time.  I got to thinking about CGs in recent Brewers history, and started looking them up to see if there was any interesting tidbits to be found.  Surely, “interesting” is subjective, but I was surprised to find some CGs I had either forgotten about or never committed to memory in the first place.

CC Sabathia had several CGs in his short time in Milwaukee, Ben Sheets had his fair share, and guys like Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, and Doug Davis had a few when they were in their prime.  Then there were these performances by pitchers who had…shall we say…less distinguished careers when they played for the Brewers:

Randy Wolf at Giants, September 17, 2010

The Brewers couldn’t have gotten to the playoffs in 2011 without Wolf, but it seems like he is not remembered fondly by most fans.  Late in 2010, when the Brewers had nothing to play for, Wolf shut out the eventual World Series champions – beating rookie Madison Bumgarner.  It was Wolf’s 13th career CG, his first since 2008, and unless he makes an unlikely comeback it was very likely his last.

AP game recap highlight: Wolf struck out six and walked two to win for only the second time in his last five starts. The efficient left-hander needed only 57 pitches to get through six innings and finished his 111-pitch gem in 2 hours, 29 minutes. He threw 72 strikes.

Jeff Suppan vs. Cardinals, April 30, 2007

This was Suppan’s first start against his old team, when no one could predict how inauspicious his Brewers career would turn out.  But to the extent this game is remembered at all, it is because it was the Cardinals’ first after the tragic death of pitcher Josh Hancock in a car accident the day before.  St. Louis was understandably deflated, and no Brewers fan could take much joy in the victory.  (Suppan will always have that time he defeated Adam Wainwright in 2009.

AP game recap highlight: [F]ormer Cardinals pitcher and Hancock teammate Jeff Suppan (4-2) was stellar for Milwaukee, giving up only one run and eight hits in his 16th career complete game.

"I am not going to say it was easy," Suppan said. "I don't know how to describe it. It's tough.”

Tomo Ohka at Devil Rays, June 14, 2005

Ohka had a serviceable if underwhelming one-and-a-half seasons in Milwaukee in the mid-2000s.  He did play on the 2005 team that went 81-81, which was the Brewers’ first non-losing season since 1992.  With that in mind, every win that year was important to ending the losing streak, so Ohka probably deserves extra credit for this excellent outing against Tampa Bay.  It was his Brewers debut after being traded from the Nationals.

AP game recap highlight: It was Ohka's first career shutout and stopped the Brewers' five-game losing streak. […]

Ohka bailed himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth to finish his fifth career complete game. He has won four consecutive decisions since losing to the Mets on April 23.

Wes Obermueller vs. Houston, September 25, 2004

Obermueller pitched parts of five seasons in the majors, totaling just 315.1 innings in 80 appearances (48 starts).  His career ERA is 5.82.  2004 was the only year he made a significant number of starts (20) and pitched over one hundred innings (118).  On his last start of the season, he pitched the only CG of his career against a Houston team that would go on to the 2004 NLCS.

AP game recap highlight: "This could be the season," Houston starter Pete Munro said. "It's a tough loss to take. We just ran into the wrong team at the wrong time."

Obermueller struck out three, walked one and retired the final 13 batters he faced in his first career complete game. He also had two singles and scored a run.

Wayne Franklin vs. San Diego, May 21, 2003

Similar to Obermueller, this was Franklin’s only CG in the only full season he was a starter (of 40 career games started, 34 were in 2003).  Geoff Jenkins hit three home runs in a 10-0 Brewers rout of the Padres, elevating the team to 11 games under .500.  Franklin only gave up two hits in the best game of his career, which would end after the 2006 season with an ERA of 5.54.

AP game recap highlight: "They were baffled," San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. "Really, going into the ninth, it could have been a no-hitter. We hit a few ball hard, but we sure didn't do much offensively. That's for sure."