Following three consecutive series losses at the hands of the Rockies, Giants, and Dodgers, the Brewers are now 20-17 on the season. Despite the poor stretch, the Brewers remain in second place in the NL Central, 0.5 games behind the Pirates for first place.
Heading to town for three games this weekend, the Kansas City Royals sit in last place in the AL Central at 11-27 on the season, pending their series finale against the White Sox on Thursday afternoon.
Milwaukee has just one hitter breaking the .300 mark in terms of batting average at this point in the season, and that’s Victor Caratini, who is slashing .300/.417/.450 with two homers in 40 at-bats thus far. Among qualified players, Rowdy Tellez leads the way with an .858 OPS, including a team-best .540 slugging and 10 homers. William Contreras and Willy Adames have both been productive offensively, as Contreras has three homers and 11 RBIs while Adames has seven homers and 23 RBIs.
For the Royals, their offense is led by Vinnie Pasquantino, Salvador Perez, and Bobby Witt. Pasquantino is slashing .298/.383/.539 with seven homers and 19 RBIs, while Perez has a .289/.338/.511 slash line with seven homers and a team-leading 21 RBIs. Witt leads the team with 10 stolen bases so far, also adding six homers and four triples.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday, May 12 @ 7:10 p.m.: Corbin Burnes (3-2) vs. TBD
Burnes hasn’t been quite the same player as he was the last three seasons so far in 2023, although he did pitch eight shutout innings against the Diamondbacks back in early April. Last time out, he allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts across six innings in a loss to the Giants. He threw a season-high 94 pitches in the game and he’ll look to bounce back against the Royals this weekend.
For the Royals, they have yet to announce a starter for Friday’s matchup, as Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic, and Ryan Yarbrough are all on the injured list.
Saturday, May 13 @ 6:10 p.m.: Adrian Houser (0-0) vs. Zack Greinke (1-4)
Houser had a strong start in his season debut Sunday against the Giants, helping Milwaukee snap a six-game skid. Across 4 2⁄3 innings, he allowed two earned runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out five. He did throw 87 pitches, so we’ll see if Craig Counsell will let him pitch a bit longer on Saturday.
Facing Houser is former Brewer and Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. Greinke is nowhere near the pitcher he once was, as he’s sporting a 5.18 ERA through eight starts so far this season. While he enjoyed plenty of success as a Brewer, he hasn’t replicated that success when facing them. He’s just 1-5 with a 4.09 ERA across 10 games (nine starts) in his career against Milwaukee.
Sunday, May 14 @ 1:10 p.m.: TBD vs. Jordan Lyles (0-6)
The Brewers have yet to announce their starter for this Mother’s Day matchup, as Colin Rea — who has been used as the team’s fifth starter since Brandon Woodruff went down with an injury — pitched in relief in Wednesday’s loss to the Dodgers. Given the built in off day on Thursday, Counsell may choose to jump to Freddy Peralta, although that hasn’t yet been announced.
Kansas City will send Lyles to the mound, another former Brewer. After a 3.31 ERA over 11 relief appearances with Milwaukee in 2018 and a 2.45 ERA over 11 starts with Milwaukee in 2019, he hasn’t enjoyed nearly as much success in seasons with the Rangers, Orioles, and Royals. He’s 0-6 with a 6.20 ERA over eight games this season, although he did throw a complete game his last time out against the White Sox, a 4-2 loss.
Milwaukee’s bullpen has struggled in recent weeks after a strong start to the season, falling to 11th in the league with a 3.60 bullpen ERA across 125 bullpen innings. Hoby Milner leads the team in appearances with 18, followed by Peter Strzelecki (17) and Joel Payamps (16). Devin Williams is a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities with a 0.79 ERA over 11 1⁄3 innings, while Bryse Wilson has been efficient in a long-relief role with a 2.70 ERA over 20 innings.
The Royals sit near the bottom of the league in bullpen ERA at 5.09 across 138 innings. Amir Garrett leads the team in appearances with 17 games and a 3.45 ERA, with Jose Cuas (5.17 ERA across 16 games), Taylor Clarke (4.50 ERA across 15 games), Carlos Hernandez (4.67 ERA across 15 games), Aroldis Chapman (2.84 ERA across 14 games), and Scott Barlow (4.73 ERA across 13 games) right behind him. Barlow is the team’s primary closer despite his struggles so far, going 4-for-5 in save opportunities.
I’ll take the Brewers to take two out of three, as Milwaukee’s struggling offense finally takes advantage of Kansas City’s struggling pitching staff.