The Brewers have a lot of work to do this weekend if they hope to make the postseason. It begins with a big start from their staff ace.
After only winning one out of the first three games in this five-game series versus the St. Louis Cardinals, another in a series of big, late-season matchups between the two teams, Brandon Woodruff is set to take the mound on Saturday night in what is a must-win game for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Thankfully, Woodruff is no stranger to big games and enjoys pitching in these types of situations. He has a great track record of performing well in big games and the Brewers’ postseason chances will rely largely upon his right shoulder on Saturday night.
In 2019, a Brandon Woodruff start was almost an automatic Brewers win for the team, which was 18-4 with him pitching. 2020 has been quite the opposite for the Brewers as they are 5-7 in his starts. A large part of that is due to lack of run support, but there has also been a sense of urgency for him in his last few starts.
Over his last three starts, Woodruff has logged 19.2 innings pitched, posted a 2.29 ERA, and has held batters to a .171 batting average against. His best start during this stretch was his game versus the Chicago Cubs when he pitched 7 innings of scoreless baseball and struck out 12 batters.
Woodruff last pitched against the Cardinals on September 16th in game one of a double header. He threw a complete seven-inning game that day and allowed three earned runs. A sense of familiarity versus the Cardinals offense should help Woodruff in his start tonight against them.
While his start tonight versus the Cardinals is not a postseason start, it certainly will have the intensity of one. In 16.1 career post season innings, Brandon Woodruff has a 1.65 ERA with 23 strikeouts. It is fair to say that not only does Woodruff embrace the big stage, but he performs well in these situations as well.
Of the other National League Central teams, the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds have both clinched playoff berths. Entering play on Saturday the Cardinals have a slightly better winning percentage than the Reds and still hold the second place position in the division.
Along with the Cardinals, the Brewers are competing with the Giants, Phillies, and Mets for a spot in the 2020 postseason. The Giants currently hold the last wildcard spot with a record of 29-29. The Brewers and Phillies both sit at 28-30 while the Mets are 26-31.
With only two games remaining in the season, the Brewers cannot rely on other teams to help them out anymore. These games are must-wins and it all starts with Brandon Woodruff on the mound tonight.