The Brewers are 2.5 games back of the Cubs, fighting off an elimination number of five. To say every game is critical at this point in the year is obvious.
To that end, the Brewers have made the unusual choice of scratching their healthy starter for tonight’s game, Chase Anderson, and they’ll instead go with a bullpen game led off by Dan Jennings:
Tonight’s initial out getter in St. Louis will be Dan Jennings. It will be his first Major League start after 381 career relief appearances. pic.twitter.com/5PDu60lrpF
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 24, 2018
As for Anderson, he seems chapped by the decision, but will pitch in whatever role comes next (Brewers.com): “Obviously, it’s frustrating. I want to pitch as much as I want to pitch. I want to pitch every time my name is called. Obviously, this is a better way to go this time of the season and I understand each game is very meaningful down the stretch with a close race, but obviously, I want to be on the mound, regardless of what the situation is. But, you know, sometimes, you’ve got to swallow your pride and continue to go. When my name is called to pitch, I’ll take the ball and go out there and do my thing.”
It was just a year ago that Anderson, now 30, broke out with a 2.74-ERA season worth 3.2 WAR for the Brewers. This year has been a very different story, as the righty has posted a 3.93 ERA with terrible peripherals. In particular, his HR/9 has spiked to a woeful 1.71, and I can’t blame the Brewers for making the change.
Jennings, a lefty, will presumably pitch just an inning or two (or maybe even just a batter or two for a match-up!), and from there it remains to be seen whether the Brewers will bring in someone like Anderson to throw as many innings as he could (like a Rays “opener” situation), or whether they’ll just go with relievers for the rest of the game (a “bullpen game”).
Hopefully this blows up in their face against the Cardinals (go … Cardinals?), and also depletes their bullpen.