Brewers: Who To Start in a Must-Win Game, Woodruff or Burnes?

Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Brewers currently have the luxury of two high-performing starters in their rotation. So which one of them would get the start in a must-win game?

With the 2020 season coming to a close faster than Carlos Gomez around the bases, there is still a chance the Milwaukee Brewers will play a must-win game to either get into the playoffs or in the playoffs.

And with Milwaukee having two hot-handed starting pitchers right now, who should get the chance to start that game and hopefully get the win? Brandon Woodruff or Corbin Burnes?

Option 1: Brandon Woodruff

Woodruff is currently the Brewers’ ace. He has earned the job, gotten past Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter curse and should probably get the ball.

As of September 14th, he is 2-3 with an ERA of 3.40 over 10 games. He has pitched 53 innings and currently at 67 strike outs.

Woodruff started off the year hot for the Brewers. His ERA wasn’t over two until mid-August. After a couple of shorter starts and less than stellar outings on August 30th and September 5th, I started to lean towards Burnes.

But then September 11th, 2020 happened.

Woodruff pitched seven innings. He gave up one hit. He had 12, yes 12, strike outs. If you didn’t watch it, stop right now and find clips. It was an impressive sight. It was something the Brewers needed, especially with Jon Lester on the mound and having one of his best nights of the year as well.

When David Ross, the manager of the Chicago Cubs and the opposing team that night, can’t stop talking about your performance, you know you had a great one.

After that recent outing and performance, how do you not pick Woodruff?

Option 2: Corbin Burnes

Because Corbin Burnes is the second option, that’s how.

Burnes is 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA as of the September 14th double-header game. Corbin is having a ridiculous September, and already being looked at as a Cy Young contender. Look at his September so far:

September 4th: Six innings, three hits, one run, seven strike outs.

September 9th: Seven innings, one hit, no runs, 11 strike outs.

September 14th: 4 2/3 innings (in a seven-inning game), five hits, one earned run, 10 strike outs.

With the season he is having, especially the month of September, how do you not pick him? A comeback season. An emerging #2 starter for the Crew. The man the Brewers stuck with instead of trading him and are now being rewarded for it.

Woodruff is the proven ace, but Burnes is red hot right now. He is a little more consistent, has more strike outs and just putting on a clinic on the plate in September.

Option 3: Why Not Both?

When it comes down to it, you probably have to pick Woodruff, right? You go with your proven Ace.

If I was the Brewers manager? I probably pick Burnes, unless his next few starts are absolutely terrible and he loses some confidence.

So that’s why I say, why not do both? Give Woody the start. Have him throw gas for four or five innings. But as soon as he gets in trouble, bring in Corbin. Let him get two to three innings of work too. I want to see 17 strike outs between them.

Then when/if you are winning the game, bring in Devin Williams and then Hader. Win that must-win game by the books. Our other relievers do well too, but Burnes coming in after Woodruff would just cause nothing but stress for a team.

Actually, do Woodruff, throw in Suter for 3 batters to really mess with their heads, and then do Burnes. Perfection made even better.

You can say that I am lame for picking both, but it makes the most sense. In the 2019 Wild Card game against the Washington Nationals, remember who they put on the mound? Max Scherzer, followed by Stephen Strasburg, their best two pitchers.

Next. Who Might Join Woodruff to Start on Wednesday?. dark

The Brewers should definitely do the same thing in a must-win game. And I still believe a must-win game will happen this season.