Every now and then we talk about the Brewers' record against pitchers making their major league debuts. Confirmation bias plays a part here, but it seems like the Crew always struggles against guys who were just called up from the minors, some of which have no business on a major league mound. On this day in 1997, Steve Woodard reminded us that that knife cuts both ways.
Woodard had a tough task on this day: In game one of a doubleheader he was matched up against Blue Jays ace Roger Clemens, who entered the game 16-3 with a 1.54 ERA and had allowed one run or less while pitching eight innings or more in each of his previous four starts. Presented with that small margin for error, Woodard allowed a leadoff double to Otis Nixon in the first inning, then retired 24 batters without allowing another hit. Woodard struck out 12 and walked just one in the game, and Mike Fetters pitched a scoreless ninth for the save in a 1-0 victory. The only run scored on Jeromy Burnitz's single in the fourth.
Woodard got knocked back down to earth his next time out, getting chased from the game early by the Mariners, and finished the season with a 5.15 ERA in seven starts. He never struck out 12 batters in a game again.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to: