The Milwaukee Brewers’ four-day break brought on by a COVID-19 outbreak in the St. Louis clubhouse did have at least one bright spot.
As the Brewers sat by while their series against the Cardinals last week was postponed, right-hander Josh Lindblom got extra time to heal from back spasms that cut short his Milwaukee debut.
Now rested and ready, Lindblom will look to help the visiting Brewers defeat the Chicago White Sox for a second straight night Thursday and salvage a split of the teams’ four-game, interleague home-and-home series.
Lindblom experienced sudden back spasms that forced him to leave his club debut on July 28 at Pittsburgh after 3 2/3 innings. Lindblom (0-0, 4.91 ERA) took a no-decision in an eventual 8-6 loss to the Pirates after spacing two runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
“There was some soreness the next day, probably for three or four days after,” Lindblom said. “Not really pain, just like muscle soreness. So, having time to recover and get that soreness out, altering my in-between start routine just a tad helped.”
Milwaukee hopes another player in the clubhouse profits from rest on a shorter term.
Manager Craig Counsell gave Christian Yelich the day off Wednesday during Milwaukee’s 1-0 victory against the White Sox in Chicago. After going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in on Tuesday in the Brewers’ 3-2 home loss to the White Sox, Yelich is batting .088 (3-for-34) with 16 strikeouts in eight games.
“I think it’s a chicken-and-egg thing with the mental, physical parts,” Counsell said. “I don’t want to suggest this is not physical. There are mechanical things that we see and he feels but is having a hard time just fixing that are definitely part of this, and a big part of this.
“But it also can be exhausting when you’re just not getting the results that you want to get.”
While the White Sox saw their six-game winning streak end Wednesday, the team is clicking behind a revamped top of the batting order that begins with rookie center fielder Luis Robert in the leadoff spot.
Robert assumed the No. 1 spot last weekend after usual leadoff man Tim Anderson was placed on the injured list due to right hip soreness.
Robert enters Thursday batting .354 with two home runs, six RBIs and four stolen bases in five attempts. He has hit safely in 11 of Chicago’s 12 games.
“I mean, he just turned 23 on Monday. He’s a (heck) of a lot more mature than I was at 23,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “It’s just been really fun to watch just how seamlessly he seemingly made this transition. And not just the transition to big-leaguer, but even at-bat to at-bat in terms of adjustments that he makes almost on the fly and instinctually, it’s really impressive.”
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (0-0, 7.36 ERA) is set to start Thursday for the White Sox. He took a no-decision Saturday at Kansas City after striking out six in 3 2/3 shutout innings. In 10 career starts against the Brewers, one of his former teams, Gonzalez is 2-5 with a 5.24 ERA.
–Field Level Media