Corbin Burnes has continued his dominance this season after winning the NL Cy Young Award in 2021. Entering Sunday, Burnes had a 2.18 ERA and 67 strikeouts. On Sunday in St. Louis, Burnes may have recorded his most dominant start of the season, helping the Brewers to an 8-0 victory.
Burnes was lights out from the beginning, sitting down the first 10 batters he faced. From there, the only blemish on his resume was a walk and double in the fourth and a single in the fifth. Getting his slider and cutter working, Burnes was efficient. The Cardinals were only able to work the count full three times, resulting in one walk and two strikeouts. In total, Burnes struck out 11 Cardinals, equaling his season-high. His movement on his pitches was exceptional, as five of his 11 strikeouts were on swings outside the zone. His final line was seven innings, two hits, one walk, no runs, and 11 strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 1.95.
The great start by Burnes didn’t require a ton of run support, but the Brewers gave it to him anyway. In the heat of the St. Louis summer, the Brewers built a snowman, tallying eight runs on 13 hits. It was the bottom of the lineup that got the job done, accounting for 12 of the 13 hits. Everyone in the 5-9 spot of the lineup recorded multiple hits, with Lorenzo Cain and Omar Narvaez each recording their first 3-hit games of the season. Six of the eight runs came via the home run, as Jace Peterson, Rowdy Tellez and Lorenzo Cain all went deep in the winning effort.
I mentioned this a little in the game thread, but this was a great match-up for Cain, whose struggles have been a noteworthy topic for Brewers fans this season. A lifetime .316 hitter against Mikolas, Cain was able to go 3-for-4 on the day, with his lone out on a hard-hit ball to right. After singles in back-to-back at-bats, including an infield single that drove in Narvaez, Cain leaned back and launched a home run that hit the Big Mac sign in right. I’m not saying one good day at the plate will change Cain’s season, but in the game of baseball sometimes all it takes is a string of a few good games to get back on track at the plate. Time will tell if this is the start of a change for the 36-year-old.
The Brewers leave St. Louis with a split series and a 3.5-game lead over their division rival for first. Memorial Day Weekend is commonly seen as the weekend baseball fans are allowed to start looking at the standings. Brewers fans should be happy with what they are seeing, a solid spot atop the division and the fifth best record in baseball.
Injuries have plagued them as of late, with Freddy Peralta, Willy Adames and Hunter Renfroe all missing time with injury, but their role players have stepped up in their absence. Tyrone Taylor continues to be hot at the plate with an increase in playing time, going 2-for-4 today. Keston Hiura, who didn’t play today, collected two home runs this series and has been swinging well against righties.
On the mound, Aaron Ashby has been a great piece in the bullpen. Now with Peralta out, he will see an expanded role as a starter. If he can translate that success into quality starts, he can be a great placeholder as the fifth starter. Eric Lauer is off to the best start of his career, providing depth to one of the best rotations in baseball.
The road trip continues tomorrow, as the Brewers head to Chicago for four games against the Cubs. Tomorrow is a doubleheader, with game one starting at 12:05 pm and game two at 6:40 pm. Ethan Small will make his MLB debut in game one, while Aaron Ashby gets the ball in game two.