Brewers lose closer Corey Knebel to hamstring injury during blowout loss

Losing 8-0 (box score) to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday was only the second worst part of the night for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Corey Knebel, Milwaukee's All-Star closer, suffered a potentially serious looking hamstring injury while getting some work in during the blowout loss. He collapsed after throwing a pitch and had to be carried off the field.

The good news is Knebel did not re-injure his left knee, which gave him some trouble in spring training. The bad news is Knebel couldn't put any weight on his leg at all. The Brewers have already said Knebel is going on the disabled list.

Why did the Brewers have their closer on the mound in a blowout loss? Well, Knebel needed work. He hadn't pitched since last Friday, and going more than five days between appearances is really pushing it for a reliever. Getting your closer work in a blowout game is not ideal, but neither is bringing a rusty closer into a close game if he goes too long between appearances.

With Knebel sidelined, it'll be interesting to see how the upstart Brewers and manager Craig Counsel handle the ninth inning. Back in the day, they would move the flame-throwing Josh Hader into the closer's role because he's their best reliever. Hader is too valuable as a multi-inning setup guy, however, and the Brewers may simply keep him there.

Jacob Barnes and Matt Albers are the other potential closer candidates while Knebel is out. Barnes, like Hader, can go multiple innings and Counsel may not want to remove that piece from his setup crew. The veteran Albers, who is a true one-inning reliever, may be the best bet for save opportunities for the time being.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for,,,... Full Bio

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