Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes continued his run of dominant pitching on Wednesday by overwhelming the Chicago Cubs en route to a 7-0 victory. The win represented the Brewers' fourth in their last five contests, and improved their record to 7-5 on the young season, good for a share of second in the National League Central.
Burnes struck out 10 Cubs over six shutout innings, permitting just two hits and no walks on 81 pitches. He's yet to walk a batter this season in 18 1/3 innings, and his 30 strikeouts make him the first pitcher since 1906 to begin a season with those figures through three games. Burnes now has a 0.49 ERA on the season.
Burnes' formula remained simple. He threw his cutter more than half the time, generating 10 whiffs on 24 swings, and he mixed in a variety of secondary pitches to keep the Cubs off balance as the situation dictated. To wit, Burnes threw 15 changeups on the afternoon, with six of Chicago's nine swings against it coming up empty. Overall, the Cubs whiffed on nearly half their swings against him, or on 19 of 40 attempts.
While Burnes is receiving most of the attention as he performs as though he's the best pitcher in Major League Baseball, the rest of the Brewers rotation deserves some love, too. Milwaukee set a record on Wednesday with its eighth consecutive start featuring five-plus innings and one or fewer runs, per the team's media relations department.
With the exception of Brett Anderson (4.50), four of Milwaukee's five starters entered Wednesday with an ERA no higher than 2.50. Brandon Woodruff has posted a Burnes-like strikeout-to-walk ratio (19-to-3) en route to a 2.12 mark while Adrian Houser (1.80) has weathered shaky control. Freddy Peralta, meanwhile, came into Wednesday with the lowest ERA (0.69) among Milwaukee's starting rotation.
The Brewers have needed their rotation to storm out to a winning record. Milwaukee's offense entered play ranked 28th in wRC+, FanGraphs' catch-all offensive metric that accurately weighs on-base percentage and adjusts for ballpark. Only the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs had fielded less productive lineups.