Corbin Burnes

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Corbin Brian Burnes

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Biographical Information[edit]

Corbin Burnes was the winner of Game 3 in the NLDS between the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies on October 7, 2018. He faced 6 batters in the 7th and 8th inning with a 4-0 lead and retired all 6 in order. He was granted the win by the official scorer because starting pitcher Wade Miley failed to complete the required 5 innings and he had been the most effective of the five relievers used by the Brewers. Corbin had pitched earlier in Game 1 and was just as good as the Brewers swept the Rockies in three games. In the regular season, he had gone 7-0, 2.61 in 30 relief appearances after making his debut on July 10th, forming part of a shutdown bullpen also comprising Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, Jeremy Jeffress and Joakim Soria. He got rocked in 2019, pitching 32 games (4 starts) while finishing 1-5 with an 8.82 ERA.

The Brewers did not know what to expect from Burnes coming into the 2020 season, given his roller coaster first two seasons, but he turned out to be their best starting pitcher in that abbreviated year. After having been homer-happy in 2019, with 17 gopher balls in 49 innings, he was one of the stingiest pitchers in the National League that season, yielding only one long ball over his first 56 innings. He was finding success thanks to a new cut fastball that was downright nasty, making him "a whole different pitcher" in the words of catcher Jacob Nottingham. In 12 games, including 9 starts, he went 4-1, 2.11 with 88 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings. He received consideration in the Cy Young Award voting, finishing 6th, but did not appear in the postseason as the Brewers made a quick exit.

In his first three starts of the 2021 season, he had 30 strikeouts and no walks. In his fourth start, a 6-0 win against the San Diego Padres on April 20th, he struck out another 10 batters and walked none to improve his already amazing K/W ratio to 40/0. No starting pitcher had ever started a season with that many strikeouts before walking anyone, and no pitcher had ever had a four-game stretch with 40 strikeouts and no walks at any time during a season. He was also leading the majors in ERA at 0.37. The previous record holder for most strikeouts without a walk was Adam Wainwright, with 35 in 2013, and the all-time mark for all pitchers, was held by Kenley Jansen with 51 in 2017. He moved closer to Jansen's mark on April 26th, when he added 9 more strikeouts and did not walk anyone in what turned out to be an 8-0 loss; his ERA rose to 1.53 in the loss. He then went briefly on the injured list when he tested positive for COVID-19, albeit asymptomatically, but on his return on May 13th, he got 4 quick strikeouts against the St. Louis Cardinals, still without walking anyone, to break Jansen's record. He eventually increased his total to 58 before finally issuing a walk, to Tommy Edman, in the 5th. With that he broke a second record, for most consecutive strikeouts without a walk, which had been set by Curt Schilling in 2002 and was tied earlier that week by the New York Yankees' Gerrit Cole with 56 - a streak that was still active for Cole when Burnes broke it. Unfortunately, the Brewers' hitters once again failed to back up Corbin's strong pitching, and he left trailing 1-0 and was eventually charged with a loss, falling to 2-3 in spite of an ERA of 1.57. He did not hold the consecutive strikeout record for long, as on May 17th Cole struck out 5 batters before issuing a walk, taking back sole possession of the record with 61. He was named an All-Star for the first time and was the only pitcher to go more than one inning in the game, pitching the 2nd and 3rd for the National League after taking over for Max Scherzer. He was charged with the loss after giving up 2 runs.

On August 11th, he tied a major league record by striking out 10 consecutive batters in a 10-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. He struck out the side in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, then struck out Frank Schwindel, who had been his first victim, to start off the 5th before Matt Duffy hit a single. He tied Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies, who had accomplished the feat on June 25th, and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, who had done it in 1970. He ended up striking out 15 batters in 8 innings - and needed just 99 pitches to do so. On September 11th, he combined with Josh Hader to pitch the record-breaking 9th no-hitter of the major league season, a 3-0 win over the Cleveland Indians. He was perfect into the 7th inning and struck out 14 batters in 8 innings before turning the ball over to Hader, after having made 115 pitches. It was only the second no-hitter in Brewers history, the first having been thrown by Juan Nieves back in 1987. He ended the season at 11-5, 2.43 in 28 starts, with 234 strikeouts and just 34 walks in 167 innings. He won the league's ERA title. In the postseason, he started Game 1 of the Division Series against the Atlanta Braves on October 8th and was credited with Milwaukee's 2-1 win after pitching six scoreless innings. However, the Brewers lost the next three games and Corbin never got to start again. After the season, he was voted the winner of the 2021 National League Cy Young Award.

In 2022, he quickly made it clear that he would not start the year with another long walkless streak, as he gave a free pass on five pitches to the first batter he faced on Opening Day, April 7th, Rafael Ortega of the Chicago Cubs. He gave up 3 walks in 5 innings and was not involved in the decision. He had another good season, going 12-8, 2.94 in a National League-leading 33 starts, while pitching 202 innings. He was the league's strikeout leader, with 243, was an All-Star for the second straight year and finished 7th in the voting for the Cy Young Award. However, the Brewers missed the postseason for the first time in five years. Before the 2023 season, he had to go through a salary arbitration hearing as he couldn't come to terms with the Brewers on a contract, and the process left him embittered - like many other players before him - since he had to hear the team berate him in order to buttress its case. He came up on the short end, obtaining $10.01 million while he had sought $10.75 million. In spite of the spread between the two sides being relatively small, they were unable to cut a deal to avoid a hearing. In particular, he did not like that the team called his performance one of the main reason why it failed to return to the postseason. He made the All-Star team for the third straight year that season and in July won his first career National League Pitcher of the Month Award after posting an ERA of 1.85 in 6 starts and 47 strikeouts in 39 innings against just 15 hits while going 4-1. On September 10th, he made a bid for a second combined no-hitter as he held the New York Yankees without a hit for 8 innings, two years less a day after combining with Josh Hader on a no-hit game. Two relievers, Devin Williams and Abner Uribe, followed him with a hitless inning each, Uribe being helped by a tremendous run-saving catch by RF Sal Frelick to end the 10th. The game was still scoreless at that point, and the Brewers managed to cash in their designated runner in the top of the 11th to take a 1-0 lead, but Joel Payamps allowed a double to Oswaldo Cabrera with one out in the 11th to end the no-hit bid. The game was tied again, and both teams scored twice in the 12th before New York won it, 4-3, with a run in the bottom of the 13th against Hoby Milner. He finished the season at 10-8, 3.39 in 32 starts and 193 2/3 innings, allowing just 141 hits and 66 walks while striking out 200. He led the NL in WHIP and was eighth in the voting for the 2023 National League Cy Young Award. He started Game 1 of the Wild Card Series at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks on October 3rd but allowed 4 runs in 4 innings and was charged with the 6-3 loss.

On February 1, 2024, he was at the center of a good old-fashioned blockbuster trade, going to the Baltimore Orioles in return for DL Hall, Joey Ortiz and a Compensation Round A Pick (#34 overall) in the 2024 amateur draft. He made his debut with the Birds on Opening Day, March 28th, starting against the Los Angeles Angels, and he made it a memorable one by striking out 11 batters over 6 innings of one-hit ball in an 11-3 win.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 3-time NL All-Star (2021-2023)
  • NL Cy Young Award (2021)
  • NL ERA Leader (2021)
  • NL Strikeouts Leader (2022)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (2022)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 3 (2021-2023)

NL Cy Young Award
2020 2021 2022
Trevor Bauer Corbin Burnes Sandy Alcantara

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Adler: "The tweaks that transformed Burnes into an ace again",, August 10, 2023. [1]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "Crew combines on record-breaking no-hitter: Burnes, Hader team up for Brewers' 1st no-no since 1987",, September 11, 2021. [2]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "Reinvention key as Ray, Burnes win Cy Young",, November 17, 2021. [3]
  • Matt Kelly, Sarah Langs and Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru: "14 facts, figures from Crew's combined no-no",, September 11, 2021. [4]
  • Adam McCalvy: "Burnes rising fast, eyes MLB breakthrough: Pitching prospect has 1.74 ERA across two Minor League seasons",, January 17, 2018. [5]
  • Adam McCalvy: "Burnes' cutter devastates in latest Cy push",, September 20, 2020. [6]
  • Adam McCalvy: "40 K's, 0 walks by Burnes has no precedent",, April 21, 2021. [7]
  • Adam McCalvy: "Burnes' record streak: 58 K's before 1st walk",, May 13, 2021. []
  • Adam McCalvy: "Candid Burnes opens up about arbitration hearing with Crew",, February 16, 2023. [8]
  • Mike Petriello: "How Burnes is even more dominant in 2021: Two years after 8.82 ERA, righty has 20/0 K/BB in first two starts",, April 13, 2021. [9]
  • Jake Rill: "In blockbuster trade, O's acquire Burnes from Brewers",, February 2, 2024. [10]
  • Jake Rill: "7 things to know about O's new ace Burnes",, February 4, 2024. [11]
  • Jake Rill: "Burnes dazzles with 11 K's in an O's debut for the ages",, March 28, 2024. [12]
  • David Schoenfield: "Milwaukee Brewers' Corbin Burnes ties record with 10 straight strikeouts",, August 11, 2021. [13]

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