Fitting that the cover photo covers Brandon Woodruff's face, as Craig Counsell and the Milwaukee Brewers will now need to cover for Brandon Woodruff's spot in the starting rotation.
Shocking news came out Monday afternoon that Brandon Woodruff suffered a setback to his shoulder injury in his last appearance against the Marlins in Miami. Woodruff noticed the flare up in his shoulder during his simulated bullpen and notified the Brewers training staff that he didn't feel great.
Watching Brandon Woodruff talk about how disappointed he is that he can't be a part of the wild card round with his teammates while choking back tears is heartbreaking. However, Craig Counsell and the Brewers do not have the luxury of waiting to deal with the potential fallout.
Option to replace Brandon Woodruff's spot in the Brewers playoffs rotation: Freddy Peralta
Freddy Peralta is the most obvious candidate to replace Brandon Woodruff's spot in the starting rotation. If it is the case that Peralta makes the start Wednesday, it would show how important the way Craig Counsell managed his team was towards the end of the season.
The Brewers skipped Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta's final starts of the regular season in an effort to give them some extra rest and deprive their potential opponent the opportunity for some last minute scouting as the Cubs were in a Wild Card slot at the time. That rest may prove crucial if Freddy Peralta is moved up to start by a day.
Freddy Peralta has been fantastic after the All-Star break, posting a 2.81 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and just four fewer strikeouts than pre-All-Star break despite pitching over 18 fewer innings.
Freddy Peralta was also named August's NL Pitcher of the Month, for his dominant stretch of starts in which he pitched five starts at just a 2.10 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 46 strikeouts. The Milwaukee Brewers won all five games.
Freddy Peralta may not be Brandon Woodruff, but as far as the rest of Major League Baseball is concerned, he will be just as hard to go against.
Option to replace Brandon Woodruff in the Brewers Playoffs rotation: Wade Miley
The next most obvious answer to who will start Wednesday in place of Brandon Woodruff for the Brewers is their number four starter, Wade Miley.
Wade Miley, like Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta, had his last start skipped and could be available to pitch Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks and still be well rested. Miley last pitched last week Wednesday on September 27th in a win against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Wade Miley has been a crucial part of the Milwaukee Brewers success in 2023, making 23 starts in which the Brewers went 15-8. Miley pitched those 23 starts to a 3.14 ERA, second among Brewers starters to only Brandon Woodruff.
The appeal of starting Wade Miley ahead of Freddy Peralta is that if the Milwaukee Brewers are able to rip off two straight victories over the Diamondbacks, Freddy Peralta could be the first starter for the Milwaukee Brewers in a potential NLDS matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Freddy Peralta in four starts against the Dodgers has a 1.80 ERA and .132 batting average against.
Option to replace Brandon Woodruff in the Brewers Playoffs rotation: Colin Rea
This is the least likely option for Craig Counsell and would be based on the Brewers beating the Diamondbacks in the opener on Tuesday.
The logic behind starting Colin Rea would be to have him face the Diamondbacks lineup twice through the order and then rely on the bullpen to carry them home. This move would be potentially risky if Colin Rea is only able to get through three or fewer innings.
The Brewers, if deciding on an opener in this game, could also do something like pairing Colin Rea with another pitcher, long reliever Bryse Wilson or perhaps Adrian Houser. Rea and Wilson would probably be able to get the Brewers through about six innings, Rea and Houser could go even further if paired together and given run support from the Brewers offense.
Again, this is probably the least likely replacement for Brandon Woodruff, but in the interest of covering all bases, one that could be in play considering the gamesmanship that Craig Counsell employed back in 2018 with his starting rotation.