The Brewers starting rotation has taken another hit.
Last week Freddy Peralta exited his start with a shoulder injury and is expected to be out until at least August. This time, it is Brandon Woodruff who is headed to the IL after sustaining an ankle injury during his last start.
Woodruff was removed during his last game against the Cardinals in between innings when he showed some discomfort during his warm up throws. At the time removing him from the game was thought to be precautionary, but days later he is still experiencing pain/soreness in the ankle and is unable to throw the way he wants. Because of this, he is heading to the injured list.
With two starting pitchers injured, the Brewers will need guys to fill those innings.
Aaron Ashby and Ethan Small are both tentatively in the starting rotation while Woodruff and Peralta are out. Ashby has been with the Brewers all season, but had previously been bouncing between starting and working out of the bullpen. Ethan Small was just promoted ahead of a double header against the Cubs in which he made his major league debut.
In a perfect scenario, it would make sense for the Brewers to keep Small in the starting rotation until Woodruff is healthy again. When Woodruff does return, the Brewers may have to make a decision on keeping either Ashby or Small in the rotation. Small does not have any experience working out of the bullpen, so if he pitches well and earns more starts he could push Ashby back into the swingman role.
We may also see more pitchers from Nashville while Woodruff is out. With spots open on the 40-man roster, Peter Strzelecki was added in response to Woodruff’s injury. Guys like Josh Lindblom, Caleb Boushley, Jason Alexander, or Luke Barker may get chances as well. Due to the schedule and not having an off day until June 8, it will be all hands on deck during this time.
Hopefully Woodruff’s injury is minor enough that he spends just the minimum 15 days on the IL. He had been throwing the ball better for the Brewers over his past three starts in which he gave up four earned runs in total, but for now other guys will get the opportunity to pitch.
Even with the depth the Brewers have at starting pitcher in this organization, losing two All-Star starters and co-aces is a tough blow to this group. Ashby and Small are capable fill-ins, but without Peralta and now Woodruff, this entire rotation isn’t quite as strong.