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Brewers name Brandon Woodruff as “initial out-getter” for NLDS Game 1

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The Brewers will start with a longtime starter on bullpen day

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Go get ‘em Woody!
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers have announced that right-hander Brandon Woodruff will get the first inning (at least) of today’s opening game of their National League Division Series with the Colorado Rockies.

Woodruff has made four starts in his nineteen appearances for Milwaukee this season. He has a 3.61 ERA, with a nice 3.36 xFIP to back that up. His WHIP of 1.181 is better than last season, and his use in the pen has allowed him to ramp up his fastball velocity from a 94.7 mph average last season to 95.8 this year.

He is also using that fastball more, throwing it 62.8% of the time compared to 60.5% of his deliveries last season. Slider usage is down from 27% usage last year to 23.3% this. Slider velocity is up, too, to 87.4 mph from 86.2 mph in 2017. He has used his curveball and sinker very infrequently in 2018.

These deliveries have resulted in more groundballs and fewer flyballs in 2018 compared to 2017 (53.1% ground balls in ‘18 to 49.5% in ‘17; 29.2% flyballs in ‘18 to 31.9% in ‘17). His home runs per flyball are up a bit, however, to 12.1% this season compared to 11.1% last year.

Woodruff made 17 starts with AAA Colorado Springs for the Brewers this season, too. In 42.1 innings for Milwaukee he has only walked 14, striking out 47. Woody has been equally effective against left handed hitters vs right handed as well: his OPS is .622 against lefties, and .679 vs righties. He allowed one homer against 87 left handed bats, and 3 in 89 appearances against those righties.

Woodruff stands to be a candidate for next season’s rotation (unless Milwaukee goes full-on ‘openers’ next season). He’s just getting a jump on his audition.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs