In the dumbest injury at the worst time department, we’d like to announce Brewers reliever Devin Williams as this year’s recipient.
Williams, one of the most devastating relievers in the National League, broke his throwing hand punching a wall (perhaps in homage to Tom Petty? Likely not) after a few drinks, and will almost certainly miss the entire Brewers’ playoff run. Ironically, the punch came not long after Willliams and his Milwaukee mates were celebrating making the playoffs.
“I went out to have a few drinks and [at] my home I was a little frustrated, upset, and I punched a wall. That’s how it happened,” Williams told reporters.
It’s a huge blow for the Brew Crew. While they have a plus-plus rotation heading into the postseason through Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, and Adrian Houser, no team can survive October without effective innings from the pen. Between Williams and Josh Hader, the Brewers could get three or four innings from lights-out relievers when they needed them.
The Brewers also have the added worry about all four of those starters being way out over their skis in terms of innings they’ve already thrown, varying from 20-50 more innings pitched this season than they ever have. How deep any of these guys can go in October is a real question. Woodruff hasn’t seen the seventh inning since July. Burnes only has twice since July. Peralta hasn’t since June, and had a couple of IL stints in there as well.
The Brewers don’t really have anyone to step up into Williams’ place before Hader, though you’ll find no better manager at making it up as he goes than Craig Counsell. Counsell will have to go all Merlin with his matchups in innings 5-7 if he doesn’t get immaculate starts. The Brewers possible road goes through Atlanta and then most likely the Dodgers or Giants, who are 1 (Dodgers), 2 (Giants) and 4 (Braves) in runs in the NL.
Everyone in Wisconsin is probably already dreading the moment when Austin Riley comes up in the 7th or 8th in Game 2 or 3 with runners on, and they’ll be thinking to themselves, “This is where Devin would be.” They’ll think about it even more if it’s Brad Boxberger sweating out his bodyweight and then watching Riley take him to the downs.
Remember kids, always punch a wall with your non-throwing hand. It’s just good business.