Narveson’s bullpen move an LDS preview?
The Brewers’ bullpen is about to get a dose of left-handedness, if only for a couple of days.
Left-hander Chris Narveson will be in the bullpen for the team’s upcoming series against the Cubs and Cardinals while he waits for his next start. Because of two team off-days, he is not slated to start again until Sept. 3 in Houston. That’s 11 days between starts.
Narveson’s long wait will allow his left hand to heal up — he was on the disabled list with a deep cut on his thumb, then left Monday’s start against the Pirates when the nail on his middle finger began to pull up.
More importantly, it allows the Brewers’ other four starters to remain on a more regular schedule. The team could have kept the pitchers in order, with Narveson pitching Sunday against the Cubs and Zack Greinke taking the team’s Tuesday series opener against the Cardinals. But Greinke would have gone seven days between starts, and told manager Ron Roenicke and pitching coach Rick Kranitz that he preferred a more regular schedule.
That was fine with Narveson.
“It’s good to keep guys on their regular rest, and this is just one of the casualties of it,” Narveson said. “I’ll go to the bullpen now for a couple of days, and if I get a chance, do out there and try to do the job.”
If he does the job, Narveson could find himself in the ‘pen again in the playoffs. The Brewers took a 10-game lead over the Cardinals into Wednesday, and are bidding for their first division title since 1982.
Teams need only three or four starters in the best-of-five Division Series.
“In the postseason, if you have to come out of the bullpen, this kind of prepares you or helps you to do that,” Narveson said. “I told [coaches], all it is is a change of routine.”
The Brewers scanned the market for left-handed pitchers before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline and continued looking in August, but did not see any available arms good enough to warrant a trade. Manager Ron Roenicke has said all along that he is fine with the team’s bullpen being entirely right-handed, because the eighth and ninth innings are covered with Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford, regardless of whether opposing hitters are righty or lefty. That leaves a narrow window in which a left-handed reliever would be used.
It also helps that LaTroy Hawkins has had significant success against left-handers this season.
“The way the team is set up, we’re not the team that has to have a lefty just to get a lefty out,” Narveson said.
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