The Milwaukee Brewers did a heck of a job navigating through a mess of injuries on their way to a division-leading record to end the month of April. But lately it has felt as though that magic has started to wear a little thin.
Milwaukee currently finds themselves in the midst of a six-game losing streak, their longest such streak since the 2018 season. After being throttled by the Dodgers to end that series on Sunday, the Brewers went on to get swept by the Phillies in four games before losing the series opener to the Marlins on Friday night.
That recent stretch has dropped the Brewers into a tie with the Cubs for second place in the NL Central, two games behind the Cardinals for first. So now would be a great time for the Brewers and their fans to maybe get some positive news on the injury front.
As luck would have it, some injury updates on Saturday may indicate that the Brewers are starting to get healthy again, starting with catcher Manny Pina.
One of the biggest blows to the Brewer offense among all these injuries came when both starting catchers, Manny Pina and Omar Narvaez, went on to the injured list. On Saturday, the former was activated in time for a start against the Marlins.
Pina had a hot spring, but had put together a somewhat slow start to the regular season, batting .160 with a .681 OPS and a pair of homers. But his strong game-calling, paired with Narvaez, was a big reason why Milwaukee pitchers had a top ten ERA (3.70) and fWAR (4.3) in MLB through April 26th, Pina’s most recent game.
In their place, the Brewers have been utilizing the tandem of Jacob Nottingham and Luke Maile behind the plate. Going into Saturday, Nottingham had three hits (two homers a double) in 12 plate appearances but had seven strikeouts to go along with it. Meanwhile, Maile was batting .188 with five strikeouts.
The Brewers also found out Saturday that Brett Anderson will be returning from the injured list.
While it hurts to have both starting catchers on the shelf, it’s also difficult to keep a division-leading pace going when two fifths of your starting rotation is on the IL. Half of that problem gets solved on Sunday when Brett Anderson takes the mound in the series finale against the Marlins.
Anderson had a 4.15 ERA and a 1.269 WHIP in four starts before going on the IL, though a couple of those earned runs were a result of Josh Lindblom, who went on the IL himself after the game, coming in cold and allowing two inherited runners to score after Anderson left his most recent outing due to injury.
Prior to that outing, Anderson had given up just one earned run over his previous two starts, both Brewers wins. His return will bring some much needed stability back to Milwaukee’s starting rotation.
Other updates on Saturday shed further positive light on the Brewers’ injury situation.
Speaking of the starting rotation, there was some good news for dazzling young starter Corbin Burnes on Saturday as well. According to Will Sammon of The Athletic, he is about set to return and should be activated next week.
Updates are also apparently positive for Narvaez. Per a report from Sophia Minnaert of Bally Sports Wisconsin, he “was running again” on Saturday, a sign that he may also be close to returning.
There was also a trio of players who headed to Triple-A Nashville for rehab in Lindblom, utility man Jace Peterson, and outfielder Derek Fisher. Of particular note, Lindblom has now pitched two scoreless outings, most recently a 2 1/3-inning, three-hit, two-walk, two-strikeout appearance on Saturday.
The Brewers were bound to eventually see their injured list start to empty out. It looks like that might finally be about to happen.