Paolo Espino’s first time in the majors only lasted two days. After the rainout become official, the Brewers optioned Paolo Espino down to Triple-A Colorado Springs. While it was only two days, it was definitely a life-changing two days for him. He got into his first game, where he pitched four innings and allowed three runs (two earned), five hits, no walks, and three strikeouts. Espino likely could have gone further into that game, but with the Brewers down and rallying in the top of the fifth, he was pulled for a pinch-hitter. The Brewers did take the lead, but he didn’t get credit for the win since he only pitched four innings.
Still, it was a great experience for him. His father was also able to make the trip and watch him pitch in that game. In addition, he gets many benefits for making it to the majors, such as lifetime health care. This may not be the last we see of him, though. The Brewers will likely need another starter at some point this year, and if he goes back to Colorado Springs and continues to pitch well, he’ll get another chance.
Meanwhile, Tyler Cravy makes his return to the roster. Cravy’s numbers in Triple-A have been not been great, posting a 4.26 ERA and 5.51 FIP, along with a 16:8 K/BB ratio. This is also his first time back with the Brewers since his remarks after missing the team on the last day of spring training, so it will be interesting to see what the fan reception is, if he does pitch in a game. Brent Suter was just up with the Brewers and didn’t appear in a game, and with the Brewers basically operating with a nine-man bullpen right now, there’s no guarantee Cravy will appear either.
This move also likely means that Junior Guerra will be ready to go in the majors for his next start. He’s making a rehab start today in Colorado Springs, and the Sky Sox play tonight. Assuming everything is good, he should slot back into the Brewers rotation at some point, but the question is when. With the rainout today, as well as an off day on Monday, the Brewers may not be able to have him pitch on his next scheduled day of the 25th. If the rotation holds, it will be Chase Anderson pitching on Sunday, Jimmy Nelson on Tuesday, and Matt Garza on Wednesday. Thursday would be Zach Davies day, but it would also align with Guerra’s return. However, bumping Davies back would mean Davies would be pitching on three extra days of rest, and the Brewers don’t like to mess up their starters rest schedules too much. My prediction is he’ll just slot back in on Friday, when Espino would have been scheduled to pitch next. He could also be held back until Saturday, giving him two extra days rest, while Anderson pitches on regular rest.
The other decision to be made is who will come off the 25-man roster for Guerra’s return, as well as Ryan Braun’s return. Tyler Cravy likely won’t be up long, so he is probably one of the players gone. As for the other, the Brewers will have to make a decision. With Wily Peralta in the pen, Zach Davies is likely safe for now so the Brewers can maintain a full rotation. Corey Knebel and Jacob Barnes are the only two relievers with options, but they’ve also been the most effective relievers, so their spots should be safe. It’s likely someone will be designated for assignment, unless the Brewers decide to option down a struggling starting position player. Nick Franklin may be the top option to designate, since he hasn’t been performing well with the Brewers and Eric Sogard has been hot recently.
Some interesting decisions will have to be made in the coming days. We’ll have to wait and see what the Brewers do.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.