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Brandon Woodruff to return, start Tuesday night against San Diego

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It will be in more of an ‘opener’ role, but Brandon Woodruff will be back on the mound for the stretch run

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Brandon Woodruff going down with an oblique injury in late July was one of those moments in the 2019 season where it felt like the Brewers’ playoff chances were able to come crashing down.

At the time, Woodruff was arguably the only reliable starting pitcher the Brewers had, and him landing on the injured list for any amount of time — let alone several months with the Dreaded Oblique Injury — seemed like a worst-case scenario. Luckily, the warm-body trade for Jordan Lyles ended up being much more than that, and the Brewers are still in the thick of the wildcard race for this moment: Woodruff will be activated Tuesday and start the game against the San Diego Padres.

After nearly two months away, Woodruff isn’t ready to work deep into games like he was earlier this year, but he could end up providing the first 6 or 9 outs of the game before handing the ball to the previous probable starter, Gio Gonzalez.

Woodruff came into his own after a rough first 5 starts, going on to allow 3 runs or less in 12 of his next 14 starts (including 8 starts of 1 or 0 runs allowed).

As Adam McCalvy notes, this times out to give Woodruff 3 “starts” before the end of the regular season. Judging by the hope of increasing the length of his starts each time, you could think of this as a spring training-like situation, with the hope being Woodruff could go 5 or 6 innings in a potential playoff start.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference