Eric Lauer is quietly having a breakout season for the Milwaukee Brewers, who will aim for a sweep of their three-game series against the host Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
Lauer has been overshadowed by the stellar trio of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, but the 26-year-old Lauer is playing a key role in the majors’ top rotation.
The Brewers’ excellence on the mound continued on Saturday when Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader combined for the second no-hitter in franchise history in a 3-0 victory over the Indians.
Cleveland, which struck out 16 times and was no-hit for a major-league-record third time this season, will face another tough matchup today against Lauer (5-5, 3.18 ERA).
The left-hander worked out of the bullpen early in the season but has settled into the rotation.
He turned in another gem last Tuesday and has a 1.85 ERA in his last 11 outings. He has completed seven innings in consecutive starts for the first time in his career.
“Just the consistency and the ability to have a consistent approach and mid-week stuff, how I go between starts — a consistent schedule definitely helps,” Lauer said. “I think it’s an opportunity, and I’m here to take it.”
The Brewers (88-55) have won four in a row and sit 33 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history, while Cleveland (69-71) has been held to three hits or less in three of its last four games.
Lauer, who will make his first career appearance against Cleveland, is starting on regular rest in place of Woodruff, 28.
Woodruff has been battling a stomach bug and is scheduled to start Wednesday at Detroit.
The Indians will turn to Aaron Civale (10-3, 3.25 ERA), who returned from the injured list last Tuesday. He struck out six while allowing one run in 4 2/3 innings against Minnesota.
The 26-year-old right-hander was making his first start since he sprained his right middle finger on June 21.
“It was awesome to be back out there,” Civale said. “I don’t think you ever take it for granted, but when you have it taken away from you, you appreciate it that much more.”
Civale will make his second career start against Milwaukee after allowing two runs over six innings on Sept. 5, 2020.
One bright spot for Cleveland has been the play of center fielder Myles Straw, who served as the team’s lone baserunner Saturday when he drew a leadoff walk in the seventh.
Straw is batting .297 (11-for-37) over his last 11 games and had three stolen bases in Friday’s 10-3 loss. He ranks fourth in the majors with 27 stolen bases.
The Brewers received a scare on Saturday when first baseman Rowdy Tellez exited in the second inning with right-knee discomfort.
Tellez, listed as day-to-day, is batting .270 with seven homers and 27 RBIs since joining Milwaukee in a trade from Toronto on July 6.
Milwaukee also has received a welcome boost from infielder Luis Urias, who has a career-high 20 home runs and is batting .308 in his last 10 games.
“As he’s kind of gotten comfortable, we’ve seen a really good young hitter,” manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re not surprised by the power. I know we didn’t see any of it last year, but we’re not surprised that we’re seeing this from Luis.”
–Field Level Media