The Milwaukee Brewers sent their All-Star starting pitcher to the mound to face this afternoon, but today’s outing lacked the dominance that we’ve become accustomed from seeing out of Brandon Woodruff in 2019. His appearance ended early and in disaster.
The Diamondbacks jumped on Woody quickly in the first inning. A one-out walk to Ketel Marte got things started and was followed by an Eduardo Escobar single to put runners on the corners. Christian Walker lofted a sacrifice fly to draw first blood, giving Arizona a 1-0 lead.
Nick Ahmed opened up with a single to lead off the second. Woodruff fell behind Alex Avila and with a 2-1 count, he grooved a 96 MPH fastball that the Arizona backstop took full advantage of. The two-run tater made it a 3-0 advantage for the D-Backs.
Brandon found himself in trouble again right out of the chute in the third. Marte doubled as the first batter to the plate and an Escobar singled to drive him home and make it 4-0. Woodruff got Walker on strikes but then walked Jake Lamb and gave up a single to Ahmed to load the bases with one out. The next batter Avila grounded to first base, and Jesus Aguilar started a double play by hitting Arcia, who then fired to Woodruff as he covered first base. Obviously, the damage could have been much worse.
Milwaukee’s “Sunday Lineup” managed only one hit through the first three innings, but the second time through the order against Arizona starter Alex Young was a different story. Jesus Aguilar walked with one out, then Orlando Arcia singled with two outs, then Ben Gamel walked to load the bases for...Tyler Saladino, who entered the day batting .102 with a -49 wRC+ through 50 plate appearances. And then:
It was a brand new ballgame for Brandon Woodruff in the fourth inning, but he didn’t stick around to see very much more of it. After getting ahead of Tim Locastro 0-2, Craig Counsell headed out to the mound with the athletic trainer and pulled Woodruff from the game. The injury was originally announced as abdominal discomfort but we learned after the game that it is actually a strained oblique and Woodruff will hit the Injured List.
Junior Guerra entered the game on short notice and after getting the time he needed to warm up, he finished off the strikeout of Locastro. In fact, Our Hero went on to throw 2.0 innings of scoreless, hitless baseball while punching out four and walking none. The multi-inning outing moved him to first place in the National League with 53.2 innings of relief, and he now owns a 4.19 ERA on the season. The NL-average reliever has worked to a 4.59 mark in 2019.
Guerra’s effort was only the start of a sterling string of work from Milwaukee’s bullpen to close out the game. Alex Claudio got himself into some trouble and loaded the bases in the sixth before ultimately turning in a scoreless frame. Freddy Peralta pitched two innings yesterday but only threw 20 pitches, so he got the call in the seventh. It was the first time in his professional career — at either the MLB or minor league level — that he has made pitching appearances on back-to-back days. He walked Marte to lead off the inning and fell behind 2-0 to Escobar, but after a mound visit, he settled down to retire three straight batters to end the frame.
The Crew’s offense made their final push in the eighth inning. Keston Hiura led off with a triple and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Mike Moustakas. A groundout by Aguilar moved Moose up to second, and he scored on a pinch-hit double by Yasmani Grandal. Arcia grounded out for the second out, but then Ben Gamel laced a ground-ball single to score Grandal for Milwaukee’s seventh and final run.
Jeremy Jeffress allowed a single in the eighth but posted a scoreless eighth, and then Josh Hader recorded two strikeouts while working around a single in registering his 22nd save of the season. The 7-4 triumph moved the Milwaukee Nine to 53-48 on the year, and they have won five of their last six games. The Cubs lost so the deficit in the Central division is down to 2.0 games, and the team remains a half-game ahead of the pack for the second Wild Card slot.
The Brewers head home to face the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park beginning tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM central. Chase Anderson is set to pitch for Milwaukee and will be opposed by Sonny Gray of the Queen City Nine.