Tipsheet: Brewers are one of many teams feeling pitching injury pain this season (2023)

Tipsheet: Brewers are one of many teams feeling pitching injury pain this season (1)

The Milwaukee Brewers were already dealing with the absence of ace starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff and the loss of lefty Aaron Ashby.

So they didn’t need to lose lefty Wade Miley to a lat strain Tuesday night against the Cardinals. Miley is headed back to Milwaukee for further evaluation, but he appears to be doomed to significant time on the injured list.

“I made a lot of changes this offseason and through spring training; I’ve kind of taken a step forward in taking care of myself a little bit,” Miley told reporters. “The training staff’s been awesome in keeping me healthy. My shoulder’s been a non-issue since Spring Training. My elbow’s been the thing that’s bothering me more than anything.

“For this to pop up, it’s baseball. We go through injuries. I’ve just got to get through it and hopefully not too long and get back out there.”

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Woodruff isn't expected back from his shoulder injury until midseason and Ashby could miss the whole season after needing shoulder surgery. So this stings.

Miley became just one more notable pitching casualty in baseball this season. Here are some of the other notable losses:

  • The Tampa Bay Rays are understandably worried about Drew Rasmussen, who has a flexor strain. They previously lost Jeffrey Springs to Tommy John surgery and they are still trying to get Tyler Glasnow back from his oblique strain.
  • Luis Garcia (Houston Astros) and Robbie Ray (Seattle Mariners) also needed Tommy John surgery this season.
  • Carlos Rodon has been sidelined by forearm strain, then a bad back for the Yankees.
  • Texas Rangers hurler Jacob deGrom is on the shelf with a forearm strain.
  • Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried will miss at least a few weeks with a forearm strain.
  • Cleveland Guardians hurler Triston McKenzie has yet to pitch this season due to his shoulder strain.
  • New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander made just his third start of the season Tuesday after recovering from a teres major strain.

Writing for USA Today, Steve Gardner summed up the situation:

You hear major league teams say it all the time: “You can never have too much pitching.”

Even more so this year, with so many pitchers hit with injuries over the first quarter of the regular season.

If the injury bug seems like it’s biting way worse than usual, that’s because it is . . .It’s not simply the number, it’s also the importance of who is getting hurt . . .

Is there an explanation for this tidal wave of injuries? That’sa question we seem to ask every year.

In 2021, the prevailing opinion centered around the increased workloads from a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season.

Last year, we were worried about the lockout and the impact of an abbreviated spring training.

This year, the implementation of a pitch clock for the first time in MLB stands out asthe most obvious reason.

But let’s not overlook the one thread that ties everything together. Pitching is a stressful activity, and repeatedly throwing a baseball with tremendous spin and at high velocity is going to take a significant physical toll.

This high volume of pitching injuries will create a tougher market for teams looking to trade for pitching upgrades this summer – like, potentially, the Cardinals.


Here is what folks have been writing about Our National Pastime:

Anthony Castrovince, “That Tampa Bay is on pace for 120 wins is impressive enough. The last team to win 120 games was … nobody. Nobody’s ever done that, don’t be silly (the 2001 Mariners and 1906 Cubs both won 116). But how this particular team is generating the runs leading to all those wins is a complete shock to the system. The Rays are on pace for 312 home runs, which would break the single-season record of 307, set by the 2019 Twins. What makes this shocking is that this is essentially the same Rays lineup that ranked 25th in MLB with 139 home runs last season. That means the Rays are on pace to surpass their 2022 home run total … by the middle of June!”

Dan Szymborski, FanGraphs: “It’s not surprising to see (Juan) Soto make adjustments in his game. This has been the longest slump of his career, and he doesn’t have a great deal of practical experience struggling at any point professionally. It’s easy to forget, given that he came up in 2018 and COVID makes that seem like it was 100 years ago, but he’s still very young in baseball terms; he doesn’t even turn 25 until sometime during the World Series. Seventy-four players have made their major league debuts so far in 2023; only 20 of them are younger than Soto. If anything, learning how to fail — so long as the lesson is learned — might be beneficial to him in the long-term. Baseball is a game of adjustment, and how do you learn to adjust if you’ve never had to before? Baseball history is full of stars who peaked in their early 20s and never got any better.”

R.J. Anderson, “Nearly two months into the season, it's fair to conclude Major League Baseball has succeeded in incentivizing the stolen base. New rules enlarging the bases and limiting the amount of times a pitcher can disengage during a plate appearance -- twice, though pitchers are permitted a third pickoff attempt that they must succeed on -- have resulted in what would be a new record in year-to-year stolen base gains. Put another way, there've already been 13 players who have stolen 10 or more bases; last season, as a point of reference, 24 players stole 12 or more bases all year.”

Ginny Searle, Baseball Prospectus: “It might appear that the Giants offense has too much talent to be this bad, but another explanation is that this sort of tactic only works when held up by a few reliable pillars—like, for instance,Mookie BettsandFreddie Freeman. Even with a few players hitting like stars, the Giants haven’t been able to capitalize because some of the depth has amounted to nothing or less. Call it the 2018-2022 Angels conundrum. The lineup is too polarized to keep a rally going, so the lineup’s best hitters functionally exist as islands. The tendency of similarly homer-dependent teams, to continue apace, suggests what Giants fans might be coming to accept in the midst of another frustrating spring: This is just who they are this year. A fair question, though, is can San Francisco make an average offense work? Coming into the season, PECOTA projected the Giants for almost exactly 81 wins, crowning them the league’s most .500 team. Now, they’re down to a 78.2-win projection, basically accounting for the hole the team’s made for itself. In theGiants season preview, we noted the black hole behind the plate and shaky projections in the outfield corners, as well as plenty of ‘meh’ around the rest of the field. PECOTA perceived the rotation as formidable in the front and vulnerable in the back, judging the bullpen an area of concern. While individual players are of course well off their projections, this reading has basically borne out (though it put its chips in on the wrong Rogers twin). DRA- suggests things should look up for the pitching staff, but it’s hard to see that overcoming the lineup. This was an eminently foreseeable outcome. The Giants have been remarkably patient waiting for their future to come into focus, but it’s unclear how long fans are meant to wait.”


“I understand the fans’ frustration. We’re frustrated, too. Everybody’s frustrated. We expect to be better. I expect to be better. I think this entire organization expects to be better. There’s only one thing left to do and that’s put your head down, work hard and find your way out of this slump.”

Mets pitcher Justin Verlander, on his team’s struggle.


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