Burnes allowed one run on one hit and three walks while striking out eight over 5.1 innings out of the bullpen against the Reds on Saturday. The right-hander was excellent in relief of Brett Anderson, inducing 14 swinging strikes on 77 pitches. It marked his second straight appearance working in tandem with Anderson, who has been limited so far as he works his way back from a finger injury. Burnes may have done enough here to earn a starting assignment next week, though he's showing enough of a strikeout punch to warrant an active spot in many leagues regardless of role.
Burnes didn't factor into the decision while working 3.2 innings out of the bullpen Monday in the Brewers' 6-4 loss to the White Sox. He struck out five and gave up two runs on three hits and two walks. After starting in his first appearance back on July 25, Burnes was deployed as a "piggyback" pitcher behind Brett Anderson (finger), whose arm wasn't conditioned to handle a normal starter's workload in his season debut. Since Burnes threw 64 pitches in the relief outing, he'll likely be down for the remaining three games of the series before potentially returning to action in a starting role over the weekend during the Brewers' three-game set with Cincinnati. Burnes' relief appearance could pave the way for one of Freddy Peralta or Eric Lauer to make a spot start Thursday or Friday.
Burnes allowed one run on two hits and three walks over 3.1 innings in Saturday's 8-3 win over the Cubs. He had six strikeouts and didn't factor in the decision. The young right-hander pitched fairly well Saturday, but he struggled a bit with his control as he needed 75 pitches to record 10 outs. Burnes figures to receive a longer leash as he continues to get stretched, but he'll need to bring down the walk total to have a real chance of pitching later into games. The 25-year-old is next scheduled to take the mound Friday versus the Cardinals.
Burnes will start Saturday against the Cubs, Sophia Minnaert of Fox Sports Wisconsin reports. Brett Anderson (blister) will open the year on the injured list, so Burnes takes his spot in the rotation -- he may have made the rotation regardless, but this expedited that announcement. Burnes had electric stuff last year but really struggled with his command and confidence, eventually seeing a sports psychologist in the offseason. Since reporting to camp in February, his stuff has been perhaps even better, touching the high-90s with his fastball while also showing off a devastating low-90s cutter/slider. He will face Yu Darvish in Chicago on Saturday and will then start at home against St. Louis the following weekend.
Burnes is one of three options to win the Brewers' fifth starter job, Will Sammon of The Athletic reports. Per Sammon, Burnes will be competing with Eric Lauer and Freddy Peralta during summer camp. Burnes threw a live batting practice session Monday and said there has not been much dialogue about specific roles other than that he will continue to be stretched out. The Brewers could conceivably go with a six-man rotation where it's a tandem start on the sixth day, or they could just be very conservative with how deep they let the non Brandon Woodruff starters go. Burnes was one of 10 Brewers to spend a portion of the shutdown period working out and throwing in Phoenix.