The Milwaukee Brewers manager told reporters Tuesday that Corbin Burnes will get the ball against the Chicago Cubs on April 7.
Burnes is coming off a season in which he won the NL Cy Young Award, given to the best pitcher in each league. It was a season that saw him go 11-5, win the NL ERA title (2.43) and finish with the most strikeouts per nine innings of any pitcher in the majors.
Of choosing Burnes, Craig Counsell said, "it's not as no-brainer as you'd think it would be, actually." That's a nod to two-time Opening Day starter Brandon Woodruff's excellence in recent seasons.
On the other hand, Counsell said, "He won the Cy Young. Yeah."
Counsell said the decision was not as easy as it seems given that the other potential option was Brandon Woodruff, who started the last two openers. He had a very good 2021 in earning his second All-Star nod. The righty had a career-best ERA of 2.56 and struck out the eighth-most batters in the NL.
Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer are likely to make up the rest of the rotation, while Aaron Ashby will likely also get some starting assignments.