Milwaukee Brewers: Grading Brandon Woodruff’s 2018 season
Brandon Woodruff had perhaps the biggest home run of the postseason, but how was the rest of his season? We will take a look at Woodruff’s 2018 season and how he helped get the Milwaukee Brewers within one game of the World Series.
Brandon Woodruff started the season in Triple-A, but found his way up and down from the Colorado Springs Sky Sox to the Milwaukee Brewers five times. His travels included a stellar September call-up that lead to the second most innings pitched in the postseason by a Brewers out-getter.
Regular Season: C- improved to B- after September call up
After going up and down in 2017, Woodruff didn’t have the best showing in Spring Training, but still broke camp with the Milwaukee Brewers. He pitched on March 30th, and gave up a run in two innings of work. He would make his first start of the season against the Chicago Cubs on April 6th, earning a no decision after 3 2/3 innings of work.
Woodruff would be optioned back to Triple-A on April 7th, and recalled on April 25. Pitching twice, he earned a win in Cincinnati before being optioned back.
On May 11th, Woodruff would have his worst outing of the season, giving up seven runs on seven hits in three innings against the Colorado Rockies in Denver. Five days later he would pick up his second win of the season in Arizona after pitching five innings with six strikeouts. After pitching on May 23rd against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he was optioned back to Colorado Springs yet again.
Woodruff saw action in just four games through the dog days of June and July, throwing 10 2/3 innings, striking out 11, and giving up four runs. His one at bat on July 13th was a solo home run, the first of his career, off Nick Kingham in a 7-3 loss to the Pirates. He was optioned back to the Sky Sox on July 24th and would stay in the Pacific Coast League still the September 1st call ups.
Woodruff made waves in September, pitching in seven games, throwing 12 1/3 innings, striking out 16, walking only three, allowing 10 hits, and giving up just one run. He posted a 0.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and .217 batting average against opposing players.
Overall Woodruff’s 2018 numbers were solid. He pitched in 19 games, managed a 3-0 record, struck out 47, and posted a 3.61 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.
Post Season: A-
Woodruff was the initial out getter for Game 1 of the NLDS, and didn’t disappoint the Brewer faithful. He went three innings with three strikes, one walk before passing the ball off to Corbin Burnes.
After sweeping the Rockies, Woodruff came in for Gio Gonzalez in Game 1 of the NLCS. He worked two innings, struck out four, and had the biggest hit of the game.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Woodruff came out swinging against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw. Woodruff blasted a lead off home run, and changed the momentum of the inning. He gave the Milwaukee Brewers a boost that lead to the team scoring five runs off the Los Angeles ace.
After the marathon 13-inning Game 4, Woodruff took the mound after Wade Miley’s one batter opening. Woodruff pitched well, going 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight and walking only one. He gave up a run in the fifth inning, and was charged with the two runs in the sixth. He ended up stuck with the loss.
In Game 7 with the Dodgers up 5-1, Woodruff came in to close out the series. He pitched two innings, and struck out five while allowing just two hits.
In four post season appearances, Woodruff had an impressive stat line with 12 1/3 innings pitched with just seven hits allowed, a team-high 20 strikeouts, and only allowing hitters a .175 batting average, with a 0.81 WHIP.
He will always be remembered for the massive home run to center field off Kershaw that helped the Milwaukee Brewers win Game 1 of the NLCS.
Going up and down for most of the season didn’t stop Woodruff, as he shined bright during the most stressful time of the year. His September and October numbers were superb. In his last 10 games, Woodruff posted a 0.97 WHIP, allowing hitters a .197 batting average against, and struck out 31 with only six walks allowed.