The calendar has officially switched to August and the Milwaukee Brewers find themselves in a great position in the standings. However, more recently, one big impeding factor has been health of the players due landing on the COVID IL. So far the bullpen has been hit the hardest, which means other relievers will need to step up as these numbers rise.
Initially this all began when Christian Yelich and Jace Peterson were placed on the IL. Shortly after, Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave, and Hunter Strickland joined them on the IL. Lastly, as of August 2nd, superstar closer Josh Hader was placed on IL due to COVID-19.
Whether or not it was a lucky coincidence, over the course of the past few days the Brewers have added three relievers to their team. The team landed RHP John Curtis from the Marlins and acquired LHP Daniel Norris from Detroit prior to the trade deadline. Post deadline, the Brewer reunited with former closer John Axford.
With all of these temporary roster spots to fill, players are going to have to step up in the bullpen. The goal of this article to take a look at which relievers need to step up the most during this timeframe. It is worth noting, that we do not know how long or short this timeframe will be for there is no way to predict how long a player will be out while on the COVID IL. The minimum number of days on the COVID IL is 10.
1) RHP Devin Williams
Williams has been Craig Counsell’s 8th inning man all year long. Despite a rocky start to the season, he has turned it around as of late. With Josh Hader sidelined, it seems likely that Williams will become the new temporary closer. With no career saves, and most of Williams current outings being high pitch and high stress innings, be prepared for your blood pressure to rise if Williams gets the call in the 9th inning.
2) RHP Miguel Sanchez
Over the course of 14 appearances and 16 innings pitched, Sanchez has been specular so far for the Brewers. He currently has a 2.25 ERA and has done everything asked of him. The only caveat is that most of his outings have been in low stress situations. It seems likely that he will be inserted into more high leverage spots now with Hader, Cousins, and Strickland all out.
3) The New Guys
As mentioned earlier, Norris, Curtiss, and Axford were all brought in within a few days of one another. There is a reason they were brought in and that is to help the Brewers continue to win ball games. Curtiss was the Marlins go to 7th inning reliever so he projects out to make the greatest impact.
Hopefully the Brewers can get healthy and through this scare quickly without many more cases. The depth of this team is certainly being tested right now and it will be interesting to see how the players respond and who steps up.
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