The Milwaukee Brewers thought they would play their home opener on Friday. Instead, they’ll look to give it a shot Saturday.
The original opener was postponed Friday after the Brewers’ opponents, the St. Louis Cardinals, had two players test positive for COVID-19.
“It’s obviously not ideal,” Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun said of the postponement. “We would love to be playing today, but we think the most important thing is completing the season so it certainly feels like the most prudent decision to not play today.”
Friday’s game is scheduled to be made up Sunday during a doubleheader of seven-inning games at Miller Park, under the new pandemic rules governing the major leagues.
The Cardinals spent Friday quarantined in their Milwaukee hotel. Their traveling team underwent rapid response testing while hoping to gain clearance to play Saturday.
“We don’t know what that means for the rest of this weekend yet, but as we’ve done from the beginning, we can only continue to take it day to day and see how things play out,” Braun said.
“My fingers are crossed that we get some good news,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “I actually was going to say some positive news but when you think of that word, ‘positive’ now there’s a lot of negative to it. So, I hope we get some good news.”
Brett Anderson is expected to make his pitching debut for Brewers on Saturday. The veteran left-hander was 13-9 with a 3.89 ERA in 31 starts for the Oakland A’s last season.
He signed a one-year contract with the Brewers as a free agent. He landed on the injured list after developing a blister on his left index finger during summer camp.
Anderson lost his two previous career starts against the Cardinals despite allowing just four runs in 13 2/3 innings. Paul Goldschmidt (8-for-15, two homers, five RBIs) and Kolten Wong (2-for-4, RBI) had success against him.
The Cardinals are expected to start Jack Flaherty (1-0, 2.57 ERA), who beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Opening Day.
He struggled against the Brewers last season, posting a 1-3 mark with a 6.48 ERA in five starts. He’s 2-4 with a 4.56 ERA in 10 career starts against them.
Braun (7-for-16, two doubles, three homers, five RBIs, 1.625 OPS), Lorenzo Cain (6-for-20, homer), Omar Narvaez (2-for-3, homer, two RBIs) and Keston Hiura (1-for-3, homer, two RBIs) have caused Flaherty problems.
Christian Yelich will be looking to finally settle in at the plate. He went 1-for-27 with 12 strikeouts during the Brewers’ 3-3 road trip.
“I don’t know what you want me to say here. He’s struggling,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re always concerned when our hitters struggle. He’ll get out of it. I assure of it. We’ll do our best to help him.”
Yelich punished the Cardinals last season while hitting .347 with eight homers, 19 RBIs, 18 walks and a 1.400 OPS. He has also been a better hitter at home, where he smacked 27 of his 44 homers in 2019 and produced a 1.201 OPS.
“I’d be a little careful reading into trends this year,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “It’s possible that pitchers were able to keep their arms going during shutdown where it’s much tougher for hitters to see quality live pitching in a quarantine environment.
“It also could turn on its head here really quickly.”
The Cardinals are hoping for an offensive reversal as well. Opponents outscored them 11-4 during their three-game losing streak and limited the bottom third of their batting order to three hits in 24 at bats.
–Field Level Media