The Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation was the clear strength of the team the first month of the season. Over the last week or two, that group has been in some flux.
Just as the Brewers were planning to extend to a six man rotation during their stretch of 17 games in 17 days, the starting rotation was dealing with a few more changes than just adding a sixth man.
First, Brett Anderson went down with a knee injury, which forced Josh Lindblom into emergency duty. As the long reliever and 6th starter on the depth chart, Lindblom was going to be the first choice to replace Anderson. Then, when taking over for Anderson after his injury, Lindblom suffered a knee injury of his own.
Then Zack Godley comes up to fill Anderson’s spot on April 28th. He left his start early with an injury. Later that day, Craig Counsell announced they were going to a six man rotation just as they were putting Godley on the IL. Eric Lauer was getting called up for the next day and the rest of the rotation was being pushed back a day.
So the Brewers were adding a rotation spot, while they had to go down to the 8th man on the depth chart. Then staff co-ace Corbin Burnes gets put on the IL for an undisclosed reason. That meant they had to go to the 9th man on the rotation depth chart in Alec Bettinger.
Bettinger’s first start went poorly and the next turn through in Burnes’ spot, the Brewers went with a bullpen day started by Brent Suter, the 10th choice on the starter depth chart.
After a few weeks in flux, the Brewers starting rotation appears to finally be coming back to it’s normal, dominant self.
Brett Anderson returned in the Marlins series, and Corbin Burnes is going to be activated this week and should be slated to start on Thursday against the Cardinals, which would put him right back to where he was slotted before in the rotation, right behind Woodruff.
Pretty soon, the Brewers rotation will be back to a lineup of Woodruff-Burnes-Houser-Anderson-Peralta in that order. This was the rotation setup that helped them win so many games and be so dominant in the month of April.
The rotation is the strength of this roster, and getting that group back to full strength is key to keeping the Brewers afloat throughout the season. A rough stretch over the last week with 40% of the rotation missing brought the Brewers back down a little bit. Having Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, and likely Corbin Burnes throwing in that Cardinals series will give the Brewers a great chance to come out on top of the division at the end of the week.
Once Burnes is back, the entire Opening Day starting rotation would be healthy and good to go for the first time since April 23rd, which ironically was the first day of this 17 game stretch without a day off. If he comes back and pitches like he had been before his placement on the IL, which he probably will, then the Brewers are golden.
Health has been a major issue for the Brewers so far in 2021, but they appear to be getting over the hump, knock on wood.