The final week of the Milwaukee Brewers' 2023 season has already seen some big moments for some of the young pitchers in the team's organization. And it looks like that train is going to keep on rolling on Saturday.
On Thursday, Ethan Small got to have his big moment. The 2019 first rounder who was still looking to make a mark in the big leagues after three previous outings that didn't go as well as he had hoped was called upon for the save in the series finale against the Marlins. And he delivered.
Then last night, Hortonville, WI native Caleb Boushley got his turn when he was brought in to preserve a slim lead against the rival Cubs, who were fighting for their playoff lives. Though he allowed Chicago to tie, he kept them from doing any further damage, staying on the mound all the way into extra innings before the Brewers walked it off and gave him a win in his storybook MLB debut.
Today, after a tough 2023, Eric Lauer makes his return to the majors for the Brewers.
When you think of the success of the Brewers starting rotation for the past few years, generally thoughts immediately go the Big 3 of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. But an often overlooked part of that success is southpaw Eric Lauer.
In 2021 and 2022, Lauer was just as consistent as any starter for the Crew. In 53 appearances (49 starts), he went 18-12 with a 3.47 ERA, a 1.186 WHIP, and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Milwaukee was 29-24 when he took the mound.
In the rotation again to start the 2023 season, Lauer looked nothing like the version from the previous two seasons. His velocity was down to start and his mechanics were off as he went 4-5 in his first nine outings with a 5.48 ERA, 1.523 WHIP, and 13 homers given up in 42.2 innings.
Lauer would end up on the IL, get demoted to Triple-A Nashville afterward, and then placed on the temporarily inactive list while the Brewers tried to work with him to figure out his struggles. He'd return to Nashville in August and start building back up to game action.
Now looking more like himself again, Lauer gets to make his first start for the Brewers since May 20th as the team rests their main starters for the playoffs. That fact was revealed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Curt Hogg after last night's game.
It's unlikely that Lauer will be auditioning for a possible playoff roster spot with his start today. But it will still be good to see him back in the majors and potentially on his way to a return to the rotation in 2024.