Brewers right-hander Josh Lindblom had another rough outing on Tuesday. Could a change in status be forthcoming for the starter?
Of the many moves the Brewers made this offseason, one struck a familiar tune. Josh Lindblom was signed by the team in December after two successful seasons in the KBO in which he won the league’s version of the Cy Young award each year as well as being named league MVP in 2019.
The free agent signing followed similar acquisitions from previous years when Milwaukee brought in reclamation projects Eric Thames and Jay Jackson, who reinvented themselves in the KBO and Japanese leagues, respectively. The hope was to find similar success with Lindblom.
But while Thames and Jackson went on to find general success as members of the Brewers, Lindblom has yet to find the same results. Through seven starts, the veteran righty has a 1-3 record and has compiled a 6.46 ERA as well as a 1.533 WHIP.
That’s not generally going to be enough to get the job done, though the Brewers don’t exactly have many candidates to replace him outside of current reliever Freddy Peralta. Still, according to a recent quote from manager Craig Counsell, per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, changes could be in Lindblom’s future.
Craig Counsell said he had a good talk with Josh Lindblom today. Counsell wasn’t ready to talk specifics, but there are some decisions to be made with three off days in the next eight days.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) September 2, 2020
No, Counsell doesn’t give any specifics as to what his plans for Lindblom are for the near future. But it shouldn’t be too difficult to read between the lines and figure what’s likely to happen.
The Brewers’ upcoming schedule offers the opportunity to skip Lindblom’s spot in the rotation.
As McCalvy points out, the Brewers have three days off over eight days, including today’s off day. Milwaukee has already announced that their three starters for the three-game series against the Indians that starts tomorrow will be Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Brett Anderson, in that order.
That series is followed by another off day and then a two-game series on the road against the Tigers. That would be Lindblom’s next turn in the rotation, but the Brewers could elect to instead start Adrian Houser, who would be working off a normal amount of rest.
Houser has struggled himself lately, giving up at least four earned runs in each of his last three starts. But Counsell spoke highly of Houser’s potential in the rotation before the start of the season, so it seems more probable that he would be the one to stay with the starting crew.
For Lindblom, a deeper dive into the numbers show that brighter skies could possibly be ahead. A 4.83 FIP and .351 BABIP suggest that he may not be quite as bad as the initial numbers show. And a 11.74 K/9 and 29.0 K% that are both second among Brewer starters offer encouragement toward his potential as well.
The potential for better games in the future are good, because as McCalvy also notes, the Brewers have plenty of games to play in a short period of time after the light eight-day stretch that began today. Starting on Friday the 11th, Milwaukee is scheduled for eight games over just six days, all against the top two teams in the division.
Because of that, it’s likely that even if Lindblom doesn’t get a start over the next week, he will at least get some action out of the bullpen in one of the games to stay fresh. He’ll need to be ready to go once the Cubs and Cardinals come to town.
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The Brewers will need every arm possible to navigate arguably the most pivotal stretch of their season. That includes Lindblom, whether it’s in the form of him pitching from the rotation or not.