The Brewers have set their season-opening rotation, manager Craig Counsell announced to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other reporters on Thursday. Following the strong one-two punch of Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, they’ll go with Adrian Houser, Brett Anderson and Freddy Peralta.
With Peralta earning the fifth spot, right-hander Josh Lindblom will begin the season in the bullpen, though Counsell is confident he’ll make his fair share of starts in 2021. Lindblom, a former Dodger, Phillie, Ranger, Athletic and Pirate who starred in Korea from 2018-19, returned to the bigs last winter on a three-year contract worth upward of $9MM. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, the gamble didn’t yield great bottom-line results last season. The 33-year-old pitched to a 5.16 ERA with a minuscule 26.9 percent groundball rate in 45 1/3 innings, but that did come with some better underlying numbers – including a 3.88 FIP/4.09 SIERA and a 27.2 percent strikeout rate against an 8.4 percent walk rate.
Peralta, meanwhile, has spent the majority of his career as a reliever since he debuted in 2018. The 24-year-old had his best season to date in 2020, when he recorded a 3.99 ERA and a far more impressive 2.81 SIERA across 29 1/3 frames. Peralta also logged a tremendous 37.6 percent strikeout rate.
Thursday’s news means veteran righty Jordan Zimmermann, whom the Brewers signed to a minor league contract, will not factor into their rotation at the beginning of the season. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the former National and Tiger won’t stay with the Brewers. Counsell said they’re talking with Zimmerman and “trying to figure out what’s going to happen,” per Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.The Brewers have to decide by Saturday whether to add him to their roster.