The Milwaukee Brewers are on the cusp of closing out their brutal stretch of 21 games in 20 days heading into the All-Star break, with four games remaining to be completed over three days this weekend. That includes a doubleheader tomorrow against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Chase Anderson has been lined up to start the first game, and manager Craig Counsell has now officially announced that Brent Suter will come off the disabled list to start game two:
Manager Craig Counsell said after game last night that LHP Brent Suter will come off DL (forearm tightness) to start one of the doubleheader games Saturday against Pittsburgh. So, it will be Chase Anderson and Suter going for the #Brewers.— Tom (@Haudricourt) July 13, 2018
Counsell had good reason for choosing Suter to start the second game of the doubleheader Saturday: "I thought it would be good to have the guy who works fast in the second game." He was kidding, of course. At least, we think he was kidding. But kind of makes sense, right?— Tom (@Haudricourt) July 13, 2018
Suter last appeared for the Brewers on July 3rd and has quietly been a steady presence in Milwaukee’s rotation throughout the regular season. He’s worked to a 4.53 ERA across 93.1 innings covering 18 appearances (16 starts), striking out 78 batters while issuing only 18 free passes. The soft-tossing lefty has been a roughly league-average starter for the Brewers and will wind up spending only the minimum stint on the disabled list after complaining of forearm in the days following his last start against Minnesota.
With Suter’s return and Counsell’s recent proclamation that Freddy Peralta will rejoin the rotation after the break, the Brewers appear to have an excess of starters in the fold for when the second half of the season begins. There are five rotation spots for six pitchers - Suter, Peralta, Wade Miley, Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, and Junior Guerra. Zach Davies is still laid up on the DL and there’s not a clear timetable for his return from back and shoulder woes. There’s also not a timetable for injured ace Jimmy Nelson, but there was some positive news on that front that came out today:
Craig Counsell just said on @MLBNetworkRadio that Jimmy Nelson has begun "some light sessions" pitching from the mound, but was clear that they no longer have a timetable for his return at the moment.— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) July 13, 2018
Nelson was Milwaukee’s top starter last season, putting together a breakout campaign that included a 3.49 ERA and 69 FIP- across 175.1 innings pitched. He suffered a serious shoulder injury running the bases against the Cubs during what ended up being his final start of the year in mid-September, though, and wound up undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum as well as damage to his shoulder capsule and rotator cuff. He was thought to be ahead of schedule in his rehab around the time Spring Training began, but his recovery hit a snag in June when he was backed off from long toss and briefly shut down from throwing. He had restarted his long-toss program in recent weeks and has apparently progressed enough that he’s now throwing off of a mound for the first time since late in the 2017 season. He still has to progress through regular bullpens and a rehab assignment, and there’s no actual timetable yet for his return. But the fact that he’s now working off a mound again offers at least a glimmer of hope that he could return to active duty before the close of the 2018 season.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs