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Stearns confident with Brewers' pitching staff

GM won't rush to make deals to answer Cards, Cubs moves
August 21, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- "We'll find out."That's how Brewers general manager David Stearns responded when asked whether he remained confident he made the right call not paying the high prospect prices demanded for a starting pitcher three weeks ago at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.On the same day the Cubs and Cardinals each

MILWAUKEE -- "We'll find out."
That's how Brewers general manager David Stearns responded when asked whether he remained confident he made the right call not paying the high prospect prices demanded for a starting pitcher three weeks ago at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
On the same day the Cubs and Cardinals each added a left-handed bat in deals with the Nationals, Stearns reiterated he is open to adding an arm if the right one becomes available. But he also said he has confidence in the pool of pitchers already in place, despite the Brewers posting the second-worst ERA in the Major Leagues (6.39) in the first 15 games of August prior to a pair of well-pitched victories on Sunday and Monday.
"Look, I am confident in this group," Stearns said. "This is a group that has gotten us to a very good point in the season. This is a group that, except for a two-week stretch at the beginning of this month, has pitched pretty well and pretty competitively. That's what I expect us to see going forward."
Brewers starters entered Junior Guerra's outing against the Reds on Tuesday with a 3.97 ERA, which ranked 11th out of 30 Major League teams. The club entered the day atop the National League's crowded Wild Card standings, one-half game ahead of the Phillies, Rockies and Cardinals.
Besides the current five-man rotation, the Brewers have right-hander Zach Davies scheduled to make a final Minor League injury rehab start on Wednesday for Double-A Biloxi as he works through lower back tightness. If he's healthy, he could help. So could right-hander Brandon Woodruff, who has been back and forth between the Majors and Minors this season and will be among Milwaukee's September callups.
"What I like for us, personally, is we're probably getting close to being as healthy as we've been all year," said manager Craig Counsell, referring to the pending return of relievers Joakim Soria and Matt Albers from the disabled list. "I think maybe by this weekend, knock on wood, if we can get through the next couple of days successfully, we're in a really good spot health-wise and that makes a difference for us."
Asked about the current rotation, Counsell said, "I do think we're comfortable with that. Zach's status is still a little bit in limbo. I think September being around the corner makes you feel that it's not that far away, the ability to add reinforcements. We thought about some games differently last September and at this point, it doesn't look like we're going to have to do that, but I think we'll be prepared to do it if we have to."
Did seeing the Cubs trade for Daniel Murphy and the Cardinals for Matt Adams trigger a desire in Stearns to respond?
"We don't really operate like that," Stearns said. "We try to take every decision in terms of what it's going to do to our team. We understand that the teams around us, the teams that we're competing with, are going to do their best to be as competitive as possible."
Last call
• Soria, on the 10-day DL with a right groin strain, threw a 25-pitch batting practice session on Tuesday "with no problems at all," Counsell said. Barring a setback, Soria could be activated after Thursday's off-day. Albers, who has already cleared his final hurdle from a left hamstring strain, is on a similar timeline.
• Clint Coulter, one of two first-round picks in the 2012 MLB Draft, said on Twitter that he'd been promoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs for the first time after parts of three years at the Double-A level.

• Slumping infielder Jonathan Schoop's role continued to diminish on Tuesday when he was left out of the starting lineup for the third time in four games. He entered the night 8-for-51 (.157) with 19 strikeouts since the Brewers acquired him from the Orioles for infielder Jonathan Villar and two Top 30 prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline on July 31. Schoop is arbitration-eligible this winter.

"These are some of the risks you take when you make midseason acquisitions," Stearns said. "You are ultimately looking for players to perform over a relatively small sample. In this case, we've gotten Jonathan at a point where he's scuffling a little bit. I think he recognizes that as much as anyone. We certainly recognize that as well.
"We don't think the underlying skill set of the player has changed at all. We still think he's a very talented player. Unfortunately for him and for us, the last two and a half or three weeks have not been very good. We expect him to do better and I know he expects that from himself."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.