The Milwaukee Brewers have elected to start Eric Lauer in Game 4 of the NLDS, an elimination game for the Crew.
The selection has drawn the ire of fans who think the elimination game start should go to ace and Cy Young candidate Corbin Burnes, who more than earned the Game 1 NLDS start. Burnes would pitch on short rest in a high-stress situation after his stellar Game 1 start. Atlanta, on the other hand, who experience a much sharper drop-off in their series’ fourth rotation spot, elected to go with their Game 1 starter, Charlie Morton, for today’s game.
Lauer has, in many ways, earned the Game 4 start in his own right and has every chance to favorably match up against Atlanta’s lineup, carry the Brewers into Game 5, where Burnes would be set up for a fully-rested start. Since the All-Star break, Lauer has a 2.60 ERA with opponents slashing .193/.255/.314 against him. The Brewers chose from two formidable starters and elected to set themselves up in the most favorable spot for a Game 5 that is also a must-play, must-win.
If the rest of the series has been any indication, if the Crew gets eliminated from postseason contention today, it will have more to do with a slumping offense than a pitching decision. Despite plenty of opportunities in the series, Milwaukee has only scored off a 2-run Rowdy Tellez homer, and they are 0-16 with runners in scoring position.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.