In the race for the last couple rotation spots, guys like Junior Guerra, Brent Suter and Wade Miley have made a good early impression, getting good results while their stuff looks sharp.
Brandon Woodruff is having a bit of a tougher time. While he’s throwing a ton of strikes and still piling up strikeouts, living in the zone so much has led to him getting hit around a bit in his first few appearances this spring.
That continued Saturday afternoon, when he struggled through the 6th inning against the Colorado Rockies, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits (two of them home runs) and a walk while striking out 2. He’s now given up 6 runs (5 earned) in his first 3.2 innings this spring. It’s still early in the spring schedule and the focus should never be on results in spring games, but it’s still safe to say Woodruff is still trying to find some level of consistency early.
Postgame, Craig Counsell said Woodruff is working on his curveball, and mistakes with curveballs tend to get hit a long way:
CC said results obviously weren't good for Woodruff but thought he actually threw ball OK. One HR was on a curveball he's working on this spring. This is where you make the mistakes with it.— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 3, 2018
The other pitchers to take the hill for the Brewers fared better. Zach Davies was first up today and was mostly solid in his 2 innings, allowing 2 hits and a run on a solo home run to David Dahl. Most of the trouble he ran into came in his second inning, has his pitch count was pushed to north of 40 today.
Chase Anderson was more efficient with his 40 pitches, stretching them out over 3 innings and scattering 4 hits, one of which was a solo home run surrendered to Trevor Story.
Anderson gave way to Woodruff, who was followed by Tristan Archer (who threw a not-easy scoreless inning with a walk and a hit allowed). Aaron Wilkerson wrapped up the game by pitching 2 hitless innings.
Offensively, the starting lineup provided some fun.
Hernan Perez doubled again in the first inning, but the Brewers couldn’t score. They did get on the board in the second inning when Eric Thames ripped a 2-0 fastball from Kyle Freeland for his first home run of the spring.
Keon Broxton and Christian Yelich hit back-to-back doubles in the 3rd inning, with Yelich’s once again going opposite field and driving in Broxton. Yelich later scored on a sac fly by Travis Shaw.
Woodruff gave up the Brewers’ lead in the 6th inning, but the Baby Brewers were able to put together another late-inning rally, this time in the 8th inning. Tyrone Taylor cut the Colorado lead to 5-4 with a solo home run, and Troy Stokes, Jr. followed with a triple. Recent signee Jake Hager drove Stokes in with a single to tie the game, and after Jett Bandy also singled to put runners on the corners, Brett Phillips gave the Brewers a 6-5 lead with an RBI double.
The Brewers improve to 7-2-1 in Cactus League play, trailing just the Cubs in the Cactus Cup standings. Kansas City picked up their second loss of the spring schedule, while Cleveland lost their third game.
The Brewers will host Cleveland tomorrow in Maryvale, with Jhoulys Chacin getting the start opposite Corey Kluber.