#3: LHP Eric Lauer
Eric Lauer's struggles this year have been frustrating. He didn't have a great spring training, and he hasn't been able to get it going in the six weeks so far of the regular season. The Brewers just decided to skip his next turn through the rotation and put him in the bullpen for the time being.
Through seven starts, Lauer has a 4.72 ERA, his walk rate has jumped to 4.1 BB/9 and his ground ball rate has fell to just 24.5%. He's giving up a lot more fly balls and that's also led to an increased rate of home runs allowed, serving up eight homers already through seven outings.
The Brewers rotation has been dealing with injuries all season. They lost Aaron Ashby and Jason Alexander before the season even began. Adrian Houser was out for a bit before returning. Then Brandon Woodruff suffered an injury two starts in to the season. It's cut a massive hole in their depth. That's made it all the more important for the healthy pitchers to be performing well and Lauer just hasn't been himself this year.
Lauer's fastball velocity has inexplicably dipped, averaging just 91.2 MPH this year after averaging 93.3 MPH last year. His zoom ball isn't zooming. That's a factor in his struggles this year and what exactly is causing the dip is not yet known. Perhaps there's an injury that he hasn't noticed yet that's causing a problem, but whatever it is, it's affecting his results.
The Brewers haven't necessarily lost patience with Lauer because of his struggles. The move to the bullpen is to give Lauer some rest and a reset and hopefully get back to his old self. Fans may be starting to lose some patience because of his early struggles, but Lauer is still an important part of this team and they'll need to be at least a little patient with him to let him get through this rough patch.