Milwaukee Brewers: Why is Brandon Woodruff going to the ASG?

Matthew Dewoskin
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 4: Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 4, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 4: Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 4, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers have a starting pitcher to the All-Star Game! Brandon Woodruff has been named as a replacement for the National League, but why?

Brandon Woodruff will join Josh Hader, Mike Moustakas, Christian Yelich, and Yasmani Grandal in representing the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2019 All Star Game. That’s good. He’s replacing Hader. That’s not good. Woodruff is Hader’s replacement due to back stiffness. That’s bad. Hader is still going to the All Star Game to participate, but he’s not going to pitch. That’s…not as bad?

Is Woodruff a worthy All Star?

Yes.

Woodruff has made 18 starts for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019, and he’s managed a 3.67 ERA in 108 innings. He’s fanned 126, walked 25, and been tagged for 10 homers. Woodruff is also tied for second in the National League with a 3.1 WAR, and holds a 10-3 record for the season.

Woodruff has seen a clear jump in production, and he’s developed into one of the top starters in the National League. He’s a very worthy addition to the 2019 All Star roster.

Is it time to worry about Hader?

Probably not, no.

Hader worked as recently as July 5th, and recorded four outs before Deolis Guerra and Junior Guerra struggled.

It makes sense that Hader needs time off due to a back issue because he’s carried the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen for the past three months. That’s hyperbole, but Hader has worked a heavy load this season, and that came after a deep playoff run last year.

There’s a non-zero chance that ‘back tightness’ is an excuse to give Hader a week off. Either way, he won’t have to work in a meaningless game, and he’ll get a few consecutive days off before ramping up for the stretch run.

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The Milwaukee Brewers are in the thick of the race for the division title and the Wild Card. The games that will occur in the next three months will decide whether or not they’ll play post season baseball again. Hader is one of two players the team can’t afford to miss for an extended period of time. Giving Hader the full week off will keep him from adding an extra appearance to his season, and provide a few days recharge before starting the stretch run.

The Brewers need Hader as their ninth inning hammer, and it makes little sense to ask him to work a game that won’t count in the standings. It’s not great to hear that Hader is suffering from back stiffness, but it’s more than likely not an issue that would keep Hader out of a regular season game.

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