Brewers: Corbin Burnes Injury is a Big Blow for Crew’s Playoff Hopes

Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

The Brewers announced on Thursday that Corbin Burnes would miss the rest of the regular season, a huge blow to the team’s playoff chances.

One of the biggest bright spots for the Milwaukee Brewers this season has been the bounceback season for Corbin Burnes. The young right-hander was able to put a nightmare of a 2019 season behind him to become one of the team’s best starters in 2020.

Burnes’s season began with three of four appearances coming out of the bullpen before he got the permanent call to join the rotation in mid-August. He excelled so much in both roles that it had him in contention for an NL ERA title and in the running for a possible NL Cy Young.

Unfortunately, Burnes would end up being lifted from his start in the fourth inning on Thursday due to injury. Today, the Brewers announced that his outstanding season would be coming to an abrupt end.

Burnes ends 2020 with a 2.11 ERA and a 1.022 WHIP over 59 2/3 innings pitched. He struck out 88 on the season and gave up just two home runs, a vast improvement over 2019. Not only was the team unable to overcome his loss to pick up a win on Thursday, but his injury has major implications for any playoff aspirations the Brewers may have still had.

The loss of Corbin Burnes ends up being a massive loss for the Brewers hopes of both making, and possibly competing in, the playoffs.

For one, it means that there is no way Burnes will be starting a must-win game on Sunday on short rest. Though the Brewers had already announced their pitching probables for the rest of the year, which didn’t include that scenario, it’s definitely not an option for manager Craig Counsell now.

Should the Brewers make the playoffs, though, the loss of Burnes stings even more. Milwaukee had a potentially lethal 1-2 combo in Burnes and Brandon Woodruff to start a three-game opening playoff series, one that would have put them in great position for a potential upset. A 10-day IL stint prevents that from happening.

Now, you still have Woodruff, but likely end up sliding the capable, if not stellar, Brett Anderson into the No. 2 slot with Josh Lindblom following if a third game is necessary. That won’t exactly strike the same fear into Brewer opponents.

To add insult to injury, Burnes is likely to lose out on both honors for which he was in the running. It was going to be tough to eclipse Trevor Bauer of the Reds for the NL Cy Young in any event, but by finishing at 59 2/3 innings pitched, Burnes won’t officially be able to qualify for the ERA title, though his last outing dropped him to third in the NL anyway.

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About the only hope Brewers fans have of seeing Burnes pitch again in 2020 is if the team makes an improbably deep playoff run. Still, Burnes has a ton to build off of from this season and offers a ton of hope for a successful future in Milwaukee.