Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes left his start Thursday with lower back discomfort, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com was among those to report. Burnes, making his final start of the regular season, lasted just 3 2/3 innings and yielded three earned runs on six hits against the division-rival Cardinals.
Thursday’s performance was among the worst outings of 2020 for Burnes, who has unexpectedly turned into one of the game’s premier hurlers this season. Including Thursday’s rough showing, the 25-year-old gave the Brewers 59 2/3 frames of 2.11 ERA/2.03 FIP pitching with 13.27 K/9, 3.62 BB/9 and a 46.4 percent groundball rate during a breakthrough regular season. It’s a far cry from the dreadful 8.82 ERA Burnes posted across 49 innings in 2019, when he yielded home runs on 38.2 percent of fly balls.
At 27-28, the Brewers are fighting for their playoff lives in a crucial five-game set in St. Louis. If the Brewers do make the postseason, they’ll obviously want Burnes to factor into their rotation, which he and Brandon Woodruff have led. However, it’s unclear whether Burnes will be healthy enough to return by then.