Crew avoids a no-hit insult, but not another injury

June 4th, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers added energetic utility man Mike Brosseau to an overflowing injured list on Friday, then saw shortstop Luis Urías exit early with a thumb injury that has been nagging him for days. Then they came within four outs of getting no-hit.

These are grueling days for a team limping to the end of 18 games in 17 days. And while a ninth-inning comeback Thursday showed that the Brewers still have some fight, they mustered little in the way of resistance Friday night during a 7-0 loss to Joe Musgrove and the Padres at American Family Field.

“You know, this is a part of the season for every single team,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said of the team’s recent run of injuries. “We happen to be hitting it right now, and, unfortunately, we hit it over a stretch in which we played a lot of games without off-days and [with] a doubleheader in there. So that’s not great.

“But what we’ve been hit with here is baseball. That’s what happens over the course of 162 games. It’s our job to construct rosters to weather this.”

It didn’t help that a marquee pitching matchup turned into a one-sided affair Friday, with Corbin Burnes knocked out after allowing five runs in 3 2/3 innings while Musgrove carved through the Brewers lineup. It was missing Urías after the third inning, and shortstop Willy Adames (ankle, quad), right fielder Hunter Renfroe (hamstring) and catcher Omar Narváez (COVID-19) from the start of the night.

On the pitching side, recent injuries to starters Freddy Peralta (shoulder) and Brandon Woodruff (ankle) and relievers Luis Perdomo (elbow) and Jandel Gustave (hamstring) have forced Stearns & Co. to dig deep into the farm system for replacements. When 30-year-old Luke Barker pitched two perfect innings on Friday night, he became the fourth Brewers pitcher to make his Major League debut this week alone.

Even some of the active players are limping. Kolten Wong has been hit by pitches three times since Monday, including one shot to the right calf that made his entire leg begin to shut down, and another to the underside of his left forearm on Thursday that made his hand go numb. He hung in there long enough to loft Musgrove’s 110th pitch for a double over the right fielder’s head with two outs in the eighth inning, and that proved the Brewers’ only hit off Musgrove and reliever Craig Stammen.

When he got to second base, Wong doffed his batting helmet to Musgrove in a show of respect.

“That was one of the sharpest breaking balls I've seen all year,” Wong said.

Said Burnes: “When he's going out there throwing like that, it's tough to beat anyone.”

Burnes surrendered runs in each of the first two innings for the first time in his last 29 starts, dating all the way back to an outing last June against the Pirates. But the big damage came in the fourth, when Manny Machado connected for a two-out, three-run home run that gave Musgrove a 5-0 lead with which to work. 

How tough has it been for the Brewers in this long stretch?

“We've got to be up there as far as road games go,” Burnes said. “This stretch has not been easy. A lot of guys are banged up, so I know we're definitely looking forward to that off-day on Monday. But we still have two important games here.”

After those two remaining games against the Padres comes the light at the end of this long tunnel. The Brewers finally have an off-day on the schedule Monday, their first open date since May 19. And Adames and Renfroe could be back in the lineup the next day, when the Phillies come to Milwaukee for a three-game series. 

Adames homered Friday night in his second rehab game with Triple-A Nashville. Renfroe, meanwhile, hit and ran on the field once again in Milwaukee and took swings against the high-velocity machine. 

Their returns will be welcomed. 

“It's brutal,” Wong said. “Whoever made our schedule obviously didn't play the game like we do. A lot of guys have been going down, a lot of guys are struggling. Hopefully, the off-day helps us a little bit. This whole team is banged up. Two back-to-back 10-game road trips and then we've got another one coming up. We're definitely earning our worth right now, for sure.”