Opening Day starter Brandon Woodruff toed the slab for the Milwaukee Brewers today as they hit the road in Cactus League play to take on Cleveland at Goodyear Ballpark. The ace of the Menomonee Valley Nine looked every bit of that title today as he held Cleveland in check, working so efficiently that he even tossed an extra inning in addition to the five that were originally planned.
Woody allowed a solo home run to Franmil Reyes to lead off the second inning, and gave up an RBI single to Jose Ramirez in the third. Those would be the only runs that he allowed across his 6.0 complete frames. He required only 70 pitches while yielding five hits and a walk, striking out four batters. Following the game, Woodruff talked about feeling good after shutting down a Cleveland lineup filled with contact-oriented, left-handed hitters, as those are the types of offenses the righty says that he has struggled with in the past.
Milwaukee put up a pair of runs in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings, all of them scoring on two-run bombs. First, it was Tyrone Taylor in the third inning. The outfielder, in competition for one of the final spots on the bench, launched his second home run of the spring after Daniel Robertson walked to lead off. In the fourth inning, Travis Shaw got things started with a walk. After a Manny Pina fly out, big Dan Vogelbach lined a ball over the fence in right field for his first dinger of the Cactus League season. Vogelbach, who now owns an .875 OPS on the spring, is doing his best to convince the team not to expose him to waivers despite his lack of utility as a mostly position-less bat. Finally, in the fifth, Lorenzo Cain led off with a single then the next batter, Avisail Garcia, deposited a ball over the fence in right field. Don’t look now, but Garcia has a .960 OPS this spring.
Elsewhere in roster spot battles, Billy McKinney recorded another two hits and is up to a .980 OPS so far during spring. Daniel Robertson had a hit and a walk but his spot on the roster has pretty much already been won.
Brent Suter and Josh Hader each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Woodruff, both striking out a pair (with Hader allowing one hit). Non-roster invitee Blaine Hardy was tasked with the ninth and worked himself into a bit of a jam by allowing three hits and a walk, but he escaped while allowing only one run. That closed out a 6-3 victory, pushing the Cactus Crew to a record of 11-9-1.
Tomorrow, the Brewers return back home to face the Dodgers. Corbin Burnes is on the mound for the home team, while the visiting starter has yet to be announced. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 PM central.