Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Chase Anderson is set to pitch Tuesday night for the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on a rehab assignment. This will be his first time pitching since he went down with an oblique strain back on May 29th.
Chase Anderson’s return will be huge for the Milwaukee Brewers. He was the Brewers best pitcher when he was healthy, even with Jimmy Nelson’s breakout year. Before he went down, Anderson had a 2.89 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, all while averaging close to a strikeout per inning. Those numbers were over 16 total starts and 90 1/3 innings pitched.
The Brewers were really rolling when they had Anderson and Nelson pitching at their best. The team could almost count on a series win if they were both pitching. The questions about the rotation were always about the other three starters. As of late that is not the case.
Anderson is returning to a rotation that has been fantastic of late. His “temporary replacement,” Brent Suter, has pitched well enough to earn a chance to stay in the rotation. Also Zach Davies has stepped up in a big way and has started to overcome his early struggles.
However, the rotation did already just get a new face. Rookie Brandon Woodruff had a sparkling debut. He threw 6 1/3 shutout innings without giving up a single extra base hit. He has earned another start in the series with Minnesota. It will be interesting to see if he is good enough to stay when Anderson returns, or if he is the odd man out.
With Anderson back, the six starting pitchers on the roster are Anderson, Nelson, Davies, Garza, Suter, and Woodruff. Woodruff is likely to go back to Triple-A. The Milwaukee Brewers aren’t ready to commit to him as a starter over Garza, Davies, or Suter after just a few starts. A few weeks ago many would have wanted Davies gone, but he has silenced those opinions with his last few starts.
Anderson will bring more certainty and reliability to a rotation that is pitching well. He will be an addition that could push this team towards a run at the postseason. Also, his return will take pressure off the younger arms and position players by adding a more experienced, reliable pitcher to the staff.
However, it is important to watch Anderson in his rehab starts to see how sharp his stuff is. It is not always a guarantee that pitchers will come back from injury just how they were before. He will need to find the sharp movement on his pitches that makes him so good.
Anderson’s sinker and cutter will be key indicators to see if he is back to form. He generates a lot of ground balls with those pitches. They make it so he doesn’t necessarily need to throw 98 MPH to succeed.
If Anderson maintains his sub-3.00 ERA and Nelson continues his solid run, the Brewers rotation can lead them to the postseason. The Brewers will just need to get the bats going like earlier in the season to back up the current dominance from the rotation.