The American Family Field roof protects Milwaukee Brewers games from weather-related cancellations and postponements, but not this one.
Milwaukee found itself back home for a one-night engagement on Monday, facing the San Francisco Giants before hopping back on a plane back to Pennsylvania, where the Brewers just finished a three-game series in Philadelphia. A series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates begins Tuesday.
So what’s up with the strange schedule? It has everything to do with the labor strife between Major League Baseball and the players association, which led to a delayed start to the season after a mid-March end to the league-imposed lockout. Milwaukee was supposed to open the season March 31 against Arizona for the first of three games, then see the Giants for three games before hitting the road.
Instead, those games were postponed as part of the delayed start to the season, which began April 7 instead with a regularly scheduled series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.
The Arizona series was easily rescheduled at the end of the season, on Oct. 3-5, with Major League Baseball willing to prolong the season by a few days to achieve the normal 162 games. But the Giants series, scheduled initially for April 4-6, had to be fit in elsewhere.
“No choices were good in that situation for us or the Giants,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “You’re making up a series with a team that’s a couple thousand miles away from you, it’s not easy. We have 20 off days out of 180; it’s not an easy thing to figure out.”
With the mutual off day for the two teams and the Giants flying home from Washington, Monday became the day to shoehorn an extra Brewers-Giants game onto the schedule. As a result, Milwaukee has just one off day in April (which came last Thursday) since the start of the season, with the next break May 2.
The two teams will play a doubleheader Sept. 8 at American Family Field to account for the other two games in the series. The true doubleheader will be the first of its kind at the stadium; in 2020, Miller Park hosted three doubleheaders because of COVID-19 related cancellations, but all those games were seven innings apiece, and these games will play a full nine.
“We all know it’s coming,” Counsell said. “It’s the same for everybody, you just have to play it. When we compare ourselves to the rest of the league, we have favorable travel.”
Tuesday’s starter, Brandon Woodruff, was with the team in Milwaukee on Monday but traveled back early with Monday starter Corbin Burnes and caught Sunday night’s game on television.
Luis Urías gets full amount of work in rehab assignment
Luis Urías, whose quad injury kept him from spring training, played both Saturday and Sunday with the Class AA Biloxi Shuckers, recording two hits in eight at-bats, with a double and RBI. He played third base in one game and served as DH in the other.
“Two good days,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “At this point, that’s the major issue right now, getting comfortable. We can’t just bring him here with no at-bats to start a season, that’s unfair. He’s healthy, we just have to get him at-bats.”
Counsell intimated that Urías needed to roughly accumulate the number of at-bats he’d get in a regular spring training before returning to the big-league club. Milwaukee’s regulars picked up between 20 and 40 at-bats during the 2022 spring.
No major change for Devin Williams despite rapid turnaround
After a trio of shaky outings when he allowed six walks and five hits over the span of two innings, setup man Devin Williams hasn’t been scored upon in four appearances, including two efficient innings in Philadelphia that required a combined 21 pitches.
Counsell didn’t think it was anything mechanical to account for the about-face.
“There’s probably the smallest thing, probably a feel that he’s created,” Counsell said. “Getting into the season has been helpful for some of these guys, pitching more, getting out on the mound more. It makes sense, just getting into the rhythm of the season.”
Speaking of efficiency, Brad Boxberger — often pitching just ahead of Williams — hasn’t thrown more than 15 pitches in any of his seven outings, and he’s recorded at least two outs each time.
(Throwing fewer pitches) is actually happening with other relievers in the game; Josh (Hader has had) a number of shorter innings, too. It’s really just going on the attack with hitters and making them swing the bat, and the stuff just being good enough to win. He is very good at being efficient with his throws and to preserve himself.”
Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.
DOWNLOAD THE APP: Get the latest news, sports and more
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: What’s up with the Brewers solo home game between road trips?