The Milwaukee Brewers are now without veteran starting pitchers Brett Anderson and Josh Lindblom. The Brewers might be fine for the next series or two with only four starters, but what about after that? May could be a very long month for the club.
LHP Brett Anderson has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hamstring.
RHP Phil Bickford has been recalled from the Alternate Training Site. pic.twitter.com/3NDJ1b3Qb9
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 24, 2021
Both pitchers are on the 10-Day injured list, but there is a chance that Anderson could end up there longer. You definitely don’t want to rush one of your starting pitchers back into action unless they are fully recovered and feel comfortable on the mound.
RHP Josh Lindblom has been placed the 10-day injured list with right knee effusion.
OF Corey Ray (#3) has been recalled from the Alternate Training Site and would be making his MLB debut.
Ray is from Chicago.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 24, 2021
Luckily for the Brewers, they have a very deep roster. But are any of the current options really ideal when Milwaukee will be competing for the NL Central this season? They have Phil Bickford up for now, but is it doubtful that is the long-term solution. Here a few options the Crew has when it comes to their fifth starting pitching spot.
The most likely scenario for the short-term will be bullpen days. The Brewers play at home the next week, but don’t have an off day. They play three against the Miami Marlins, and then a tough four game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team will need to be all hands on deck against a possible playoff opponent.
Milwaukee then goes straight to Philadelphia to play the Phillies for another four game series. It’s then the Marlins again, but in Miami this time. The team won’t have a day off until Monday, May 10th. They won’t be able to skip many starts or have off days to just use a four man rotation.
So the chances of a few bullpen days is a good bet. You will most likely see Brent Suter get the starts for those games, followed by Drew Rasmussen. Angel Perdomo and J.P. Feyereisen might get a few innings as well depending on the score.
Suter hasn’t had the greatest start, but is their best option for a bullpen day starter. He did it several times last year, including Game 1 against the Dodgers in the 2020 Playoffs. Over nine games so far this year, Suter has a record of 2-1, an ERA of 2.63 and 11 strike outs over nine games. His current WHIP is 1.17. He’s been used in a lot of men-on-base situations instead of his regular middle relief innings, so there is a lot to be seen yet.
Over 16 games in the 2020 season, Suter ended with an ERA of 3.13 and a record of 2-0. He started in four of those games. Suter’s worst outing of the year was the playoff game against the Dodgers, but bounced back and had a great first few appearances in 2021.
Don’t be surprised to see Suter starting on the mound within the next week.
Eric Lauer or Josh Lindblom
It sounds like Lindblom’s injury is a lots less severe than Anderson’s. When Anderson had to leave in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs, Lindblom had to come in cold for the emergency start. Josh’s outing was not ideal. Over 3.2 innings, he gave up nine hits, eight earned runs and three walks. He ended with a 10.97 ERA on the day and also wound up on the injured list the next day. Fans were obviously frustrated, but his longer outing kept the bullpen fresh and helped the Brewers win the next two games and the series. Losing 15-2 wasn’t fun, but taking the series was much more important.
If Lindblom returns after 10 days, you may see him get a start. After losing a starting rotation spot in Spring Training and last week’s outing it doesn’t seem ideal. But he’s still a starting pitcher with experience that should be able to eat some innings.
Eric Lauer might also be an option. After a rough 2020 and 2021 Spring Training, Lauer started his year at the alternate training site. The Ohio native was brought over with Luis Urias from the San Diego Padres trade. Lauer can still be a Zach Davies-type of pitcher. He still has plenty of control and options and has time to still make an impact with Milwaukee.
The 25-year-old has a career record of 14-19 and ERA of 4.75. In 2020, he pitched 11 innings, had a record of 0-2 and ERA of 13.09. Giving him another chance at a start wouldn’t be the worst thing to try if Lindblom is still injured and a bullpen day goes horribly wrong. One huge positive factor is that he is still young, and there is no reason to give up on him yet. He’s just trying to be a good pitcher, and should be able to get another chance on the mound. Just a few years ago, Lauer was the Opening Day starting pitcher for San Diego.
Milwaukee also has Jordan Zimmerman available as depth for starting pitchers. His spring was less than spectacular, but the Brewers were able to bring him back on a minor-league deal. He would probably be the option after Lindblom and Lauer.
Bring Up Young Talent
Another option the Brewers have during this stretch is to bring up one of their top pitching prospects. It would probably be Ethan Small or Aaron Ashby. Both players are still probably one or two years away from making the active roster. It could happen though, if the team’s veteran pitchers are hurt, a bullpen day goes horribly wrong and Lauer has a disastrous start.
During Spring Training 2021, Small pitched in only three games. He pitched two and two-thirds innings, and gave up four hits with three earned runs. His ending ERA was 6.75, but it was very small sample size and did have five strike outs.
Ashby also appeared in three games and two and two-thirds innings. He ended with an ERA of 3.38, gave up one hit, one earned run and had seven strike outs. Both pitchers would be serviceable options if need be.
The only issues are inexperience and service time. If Milwaukee would bring up Small or Ashby, it could possible speed up their service time and arbitration down the line. They are expected to be the future of the Milwaukee Brewers rotation, and I doubt they want to mess with that unless they absolutely have to. They also have a combined zero innings of experience in the big leagues. And as exciting as it would be to see either of these pitchers this year, it might not be the right time.
What Ends Up Happening?
In all honesty, the options they have will happen in order. It will go bullpen day, their other starting pitching depth and then young talent if needed. The third option is definitely the most fun. But right, it might not be the best time. Fans just have to hope that the team can stop hitting the injury bug and can continue the momentum they have in the NL Central.
You can’t compete in the playoffs or win many games without solid pitching. The 2020 season exposed that for Milwaukee. Let’s just hope Brett Anderson isn’t on the IL for very long, or that the Brewers can find another reliable starting pitcher very soon.