Suter (oblique) left off Brewers' NLDS roster

October 8th, 2021

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers set a 26-man roster for their National League Division Series showdown with the Braves on the morning of Game 1 on Friday, and it came with one surprise: Left-hander Brent Suter is not on it.

Suter was omitted with a minor right oblique strain. He pitched twice during the Brewers’ final series of the regular season at Dodger Stadium, including in Sunday’s finale, called into duty for the final out of the fifth inning after rookie Aaron Ashby gave up a grand slam. Suter then stayed in the game and faced five batters in the sixth before yielding with two outs. He finished second on the team with 61 appearances.

“It popped up postgame on Sunday in L.A.,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He experienced some symptoms of an oblique strain on a couple of pitches in the game. We were hopeful. We gave him three days off and had him throw [Thursday]. It's not ready yet. We're confident it will be ready if we get to the next round, but he needs a little bit more time.”

The Brewers opted to carry 11 pitchers, including right-hander Jandel Gustave in Suter’s spot, and 15 position players for the best-of-five series.

Here is a look at the 26 players who made the NLDS roster:

Omar Narváez, starting catcher: It was a tale of two halves for the 29-year-old, who slashed .300/.396/.469 during the first half to make his first All-Star Game roster, then slashed .225/.272/.320 during the second half. But his defense didn’t slump; Narváez rated No. 1 on Statcast’s catcher framing leaderboard for the second straight year.

Manny Piña, backup catcher: The longest-tenured Brewer, and one of the first acquisitions of Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns after he took the job in 2015, Piña provided a jolt of power this season with 13 home runs in 180 at-bats. He is also a plus defensive catcher known mostly for his strong throwing arm, and as the inventor of the Brewers “Claws Up!” mantra.

Luke Maile, third-string catcher: Maile, 30, played in only 15 games for the Brewers during the regular season but delivered some timely hits and impressed coaches and teammates with his preparedness in terms of handling the pitching staff. Tiny-sample alert, but he did go 2-for-3 as a pinch-hitter.

Rowdy Tellez, starting first baseman: The Brewers needed a left-handed bat after losing Daniel Vogelbach to a left hamstring injury in late June, and they found one in Tellez, who was stuck behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in Toronto. Tellez had some big moments, including a walk-off single for Craig Counsell’s 500th victory as manager in August, before missing three weeks in September with a right knee injury. Tellez got healthy just in time to play the final two games of the regular season.

Daniel Vogelbach, backup first baseman and bench bat: After missing all of July and August with a left hamstring injury, Vogelbach returned in time to deliver one of the biggest regular-season moments in franchise history on Sept. 5 against the Cardinals, when he hit a walk-off grand slam for a 6-5 win. Vogelbach has proven capable of delivering tough at-bats as a pinch-hitter, which figures to be his primary postseason role if Tellez stays healthy.

Kolten Wong, starting second baseman: Manager Craig Counsell waxed poetic about Wong’s graceful defense on the eve of the NLDS, but the former Cardinal was just as impactful for the Brewers as their leadoff hitter. His 14 home runs and .447 slugging percentage were career highs.

Willy Adames, starting shortstop: The Brewers acquired Adames from the Rays for relievers J.P. Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen on May 21, and Adames joined his new team in Cincinnati the next day. It was like a jolt of adrenaline; the team was 74-44 with Adames in uniform while he posted an .886 OPS. He missed time in August and September with a left quad issue, but said he’s healthy to start the postseason.

Eduardo Escobar, third baseman and first baseman: Looking for more pop at the Trade Deadline, the Brewers sent two Minor Leaguers to Arizona for the switch-hitting All-Star on July 28. Escobar hit six home runs and slashed .268/.342/.458 for the Brewers in 48 games while playing third against right-handed pitchers and some first against lefties.

Christian Yelich, starting left fielder: Yelich batted .248 with a .373 slugging percentage -- career lows for a full season by wide margins. Yelich hit nine home runs in 475 plate appearances, including one homer in his final 36 games and 148 plate appearances of the regular season. Most curiously, Yelich returned to hitting the ball on the ground like he did before coming to the Brewers from the Marlins in a 2018 trade. His 54.4 percent ground-ball rate was ninth highest in MLB among batters with at least 400 plate appearances. The postseason offers an opportunity to start from scratch.

Lorenzo Cain, starting center fielder: Cain struggled with various lower-body injuries in Spring Training and early in the regular season, but got his legs under him as the regular season wore on. He finished with a .729 OPS in 78 games but can make an impact with his glove.

Avisaíl García, starting right fielder: In what amounted to a contract year, since García got the plate appearances he needed to convert his 2022 club option to a mutual option, the 30-year-old hit a career-high 29 home runs and was arguably Milwaukee’s most consistent offensive performer.

Luis Urías, infielder: After a debut season with the Brewers marred by a hand injury and an early-season case of COVID-19, Urías was one of the team’s most durable and productive players in 2021, leading the team in games (150) and at-bats (490) while hitting a career-high 23 home runs. He can play all over the infield.

Jace Peterson, utility: Peterson’s hitting dropped off abruptly late in the season, but for most of the year he was the Brewers’ unsung hero, helping them as much as any player to overcome a spate of early injuries to position players. If anyone goes down in the postseason, Peterson will be one of the players who fills the gap.

Jackie Bradley Jr., backup outfielder: Bradley signed with the Brewers late in Spring Training and brought an impressive track record from Boston, but his season was essentially a nightmare. He finished at .163/.236/.261 with 132 strikeouts in 387 at-bats -- but still plays sensational defense. The Brewers sometimes put him in a game late for his glove.

Tyrone Taylor, backup outfielder: Long a Brewers prospect, Taylor has established himself as a bona fide big leaguer in the past two seasons. He missed time in August and September with a right oblique injury, but when he was healthy, he delivered 12 home runs in 243 at-bats.

Corbin Burnes, Game 1 starter: Burnes led the Majors with a 2.43 ERA to become the first Brewers pitcher ever to win his league’s ERA title. Burnes also led MLB in strikeout rate (35.6 percent), strikeouts to walks (6.88), FIP (1.63) and percentage of barrels (2.9 percent). Only Max Scherzer had a lower WHIP than Burnes’ 0.94.

Brandon Woodruff, Game 2 starter: Woodruff was Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter and finished with the fourth-best ERA for a qualifying pitcher in franchise history (2.56), but he’s the No. 2 starter going into the postseason because of Burnes’ excellence. Woodruff led the Brewers in innings each of the past two seasons.

Freddy Peralta, right-handed starter: The Brewers have not yet announced it, but Peralta looks like the leading candidate to start Game 3 of the NLDS after logging a 2.81 ERA in 144 1/3 innings during the regular season with a 33.6 percent strikeout rate, third-best among MLB pitchers who topped 140 innings. Peralta missed a couple of starts during the second half with a minor shoulder injury but is well-rested for the start of the postseason.

Adrian Houser, right-handed starter: Houser on Sept. 4 against the Cardinals became the first individual Brewers pitcher to throw a shutout in more than 1,012 games, ending the longest drought in Major League history. He finished with a 3.22 ERA in a breakthrough season for the sinker specialist.

Eric Lauer, left-handed starter: Like Houser, Lauer had a breakthrough season, with a 3.19 ERA in 118 2/3 innings. And like Houser, he has pitched both as a starter and a reliever, giving the Brewers some flexibility in how they use him in a short series.

Josh Hader, closer: It was another stellar season for Hader, who ended the regular season with a streak of 21 consecutive scoreless outings after posting a 19-game scoreless streak earlier in the year. He is expected to remain in a one-inning role in the postseason after the Brewers lost setup man Devin Williams to a fractured right hand.

Brad Boxberger, right-handed reliever: Boxberger was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training who didn’t make the Brewers’ Opening Day roster and could have gone elsewhere. But he stuck with the organization and wound up making a team-high 71 appearances, mostly as the bridge to Williams and Hader when the Brewers were protecting a narrow lead. He’s extremely important with Williams down.

Jake Cousins, right-handed reliever: Another arm which could be relied upon to cover the loss of Williams, Cousins had a 2.70 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 30 innings during the regular season thanks to one of the best sliders you’ll see. He had a minor biceps injury late in the season but said he’s healthy going into the postseason.

Aaron Ashby, left-handed reliever: An X-factor going into the playoffs, Ashby is bidding to be this year’s version of 2018’s Woodruff, Burnes and Peralta -- prospects who got their feet wet pitching big innings in relief. Ashby, the nephew of former big league pitcher Andy Ashby, had a 1.78 ERA in 11 appearances between a disappointing Major League debut as a starter on June 30 against the Cubs and a disappointing final appearance in the regular-season finale on Oct. 3 at the Dodgers.

Hunter Strickland, right-handed reliever: The Brewers acquired Strickland from the Angels in June, and he was great for Milwaukee, with a 1.73 ERA in 35 appearances. When the Brewers needed to escape a jam in the middle of an inning, Strickland was often their choice.

Jandel Gustave, right-handed reliever: Another reliever acquired via in-season trade, Gustave had a solid 1.09 WHIP in 14 appearances in the Majors for Milwaukee. He had a tough August; after being placed on the COVID-19 injured list as a close contact, he later contracted the virus and was quarantined for a couple of weeks at a hotel in Atlanta.