Brett Anderson will make his pitching debut for the Milwaukee Brewers in their home opener Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
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, $5 million contract with the Brewers as a free agent.
Anderson landed on the injured list after developing a blister on his left index finger during Summer Camp. He will come off the IL to start this game.
"Arm feels good, body feels good," Anderson said. "For the first time out, I don't expect to throw a complete game by any stretch, and go out there and be (like Chicago Cubs starter) Kyle Hendricks, I don't think. But I can give our team a chance, keep us in the game and let the game dictate how long I go."
He believes he can manage his blister issue going forward.
"If I can get through this weather with the moisture and everything like that, then I should be good to go with the dome or nice weather going forward," Anderson said.
The Cardinals will counter with staff ace Jack Flaherty (1-0, 2.57 ERA), who earned a 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh on Opening Day. He blanked the Pirates for six innings before allowing two runs in the seventh.
Flaherty paced himself, which allowed him to work deep into his first game after the pandemic shutdown.
"To come out and try to strike everybody out would have been stupid," Flaherty said. "We let strikeouts come where they come and take the outs when you can get them. And if they come quick, they come quick. Then you get into big spots ... and you've got plenty in the tank."
Flaherty struggled against the Brewers last season, going 1-3 with a 6.48 ERA in five starts. Overall, he's 2-4 with a 4.56 ERA in 10 career starts against them.
Ryan Braun (7-for-16, two doubles, three homers, five RBIs, 1.625 on-base-plus-slugging percentage), Lorenzo Cain (6-for-20, one homer), Omar Narvaez (1-for-3, homer, two RBIs) and Keston Hiura (1-for-3, homer, two RBIs) have caused Flaherty problems.
After their 3-3 road trip, the Brewers hope to get outfielder Christian Yelich on track at Miller Park. He went 1-for-27 with 12 strikeouts at Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Last season Yelich wore out the Cardinals, hitting .347 with eight homers, 19 RBIs, 18 walks and a 1.400 OPS.
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, one RBI) have had success against him.
The Cardinals arrived in Milwaukee with a three-game losing streak. Opponents outscored the Cardinals 14-4 during that span and limited the bottom third of their batting order to three hits in 24 at-bats.
Outfielders Harrison Bader and Lane Thomas have combined to go 1-for-14 this season. Left fielder Tyler O'Neill (3-for-15, two homers) and Dexter Fowler (4-for-16, one homer) haven't been consistent.
This early offensive struggles have drawn more attention to outfielder Dylan Carlson, the top Cardinals hitting prospect who started the season at the team's minor league camp.
"The thing about it is you don't want to overreact," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "This is an offense that, a couple of games (ago), this group was touting as being a really explosive, dynamic offense. It's a very capable group. Clearly, the last couple of days, we're not as consistent as we would like. A lot of confidence in this group. I don't expect any wholesale changes."
--Field Level Media