Brandon Woodruff is a legitimate ace in Major League Baseball, and he proved that again on Monday night at American Family Field in Milwaukee.
Facing off against the red-hot San Diego Padres, riding a nine-game winning streak coming into the series opener, Woodruff sliced and diced his way through the Friars lineup. The Mississippian yielded two hits in the first inning, then retired the next seven batters in a row. In the fourth, he allowed a leadoff single to Jake Cronenworth, then retired another twelve batters in order.
Across his seven shutout innings, Woody fired exactly 100 pitches. He gave up just the three hits and didn’t walk a single soul, while punching out eight. After giving up three runs in 4.0 innings on Opening Day, Woodruff has now twirled nine consecutive starts of six or more innings pitched and two or fewer earned runs allowed. He entered the day leading Major League Baseball in earned run average, then lowered that to a miniscule 1.41 mark on the season.
The offense finally came out to support their #1 starter, too. Manny Pina blasted a two-run bomb in the second, and Avisail Garcia drove out a solo bomb in the fourth. Kolten Wong added two more runs in the fourth inning with a two-out, bases-loaded single that chased opposing starter Blake Snell from the game.
Things became a little hairy once the bullpen got involved as Craig Counsell now needs some new names to step up with the losses of JP Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen. In the eighth, Brad Boxberger worked a scoreless frame and continues to establish himself as a relatively dependable setup arm. In the ninth, though, Angel Perdomo failed to record an out while trying to get a five-run lead across the finish line. He walked Jurickson Profar to start the inning, then served up a two-run blast to Tommy Pham. Cronenworth was hit with a pitch, which then prompted Josh Hader’s entrance from the bullpen. Hader punched out Fernando Tatis, Jr., then gave up a double to Eric Hosmer that made it a 5-3 game. Wil Myers walked but Hader avoided any further damage by inducing a popout and a lineout, ending the game and pushing the Brewers back over .500 to 24-23.
The series continues on Tuesday evening with first pitch scheduled at 6:40 PM. Corbin Burnes is slated to toe the slab against Joe Musgrove.