The Milwaukee Brewers are set for a glimpse at their future in the present.
The Chicago Cubs might be doing the same.
Prized Brewers pitching prospect Ethan Small will make his major league debut in the opener of Monday’s split doubleheader against the host Chicago Cubs, who will send out Matt Swarmer for his first big-league appearance, as well.
With Brandon Woodruff bothered by an ankle issue and Freddy Peralta out due to a shoulder strain, Milwaukee’s rotation is somewhat in flux with a doubleheader approaching. Manager Craig Counsell confirmed following Sunday’s 8-0 win to avoid a third straight defeat at St. Louis, that Small is ready for this major moment.
The 28th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Small was 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA, 49 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.12 in eight starts for Triple-A Nashville this season.
“Ethan’s in a spot where he’s close to where he could impact us at any time,” Counsell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this month.
“He’s got status being a first-rounder.”
The left-hander will try to help the NL Central-leading Brewers improve to 5-3 on an 11-game trip. He’ll oppose Swarmer, a 19th-round pick in 2016, who was 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in nine games — five starts — for Triple-A Iowa this season.
According to ESPN, this is the first time the Brewers will be part of a game where each starting pitcher will be making his major league debut. It’s first time for the Cubs since 1944.
Chicago already has one prospect off to a strong start to his career in the majors. Since debuting May 17, Christopher Morel is hitting .293 with two home runs and five RBIs in 11 games. He’s also hit safely in eight consecutive contests.
“He’s done a really nice job and goes out and performs,” manager David Ross told the Cubs’ official website. “I think when you come to work every day like he does, with a good attitude and energy and goes out and is learning on a daily basis, and getting better at baseball, there’s no expectation (too high) for him.”
This will be the first time Morel faces the Brewers, who split the first six 2022 games with the Cubs, who have lost three of the last four overall and are 5-15 at home since opening with back-to-back wins over Milwaukee. The Brewers will start Aaron Ashby (0-3, 2.91 ERA) in the nightcap.
The left-hander is 0-1 with a 3.26 ERA in four 2022 starts, but allowed an unearned run over 5 2/3 innings of a 2-1 victory at San Diego on Wednesday. Ashby yielded a run and three hits over 1 2/3 innings of relief during Milwaukee’s 5-4 Opening Day-loss at Chicago.
Meanwhile, Chicago’s Drew Smyly (2-5, 4.08 ERA) takes the ball in Game 2, after allowing three runs on two homers in 5 2/3 innings at Cincinnati on Monday to snap a five-game losing skid. The left-hander, who hasn’t faced Milwaukee this season, is 0-3 with a 5.93 ERA at home in 2022.
Milwaukee’s Omar Narvaez is 7-for-11 in his last three contests. Teammate Christian Yelich is 5-for-31 in his last eight games but batting .350 (7-for-20) with two homers and six RBIs versus Chicago this season.
–Field Level Media