It sometimes takes big starting pitching performances for a team to make that final push through September and into the playoffs. The Milwaukee Brewers sure did get one of those on Monday night.
Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff absolutely dominated the Marlins on Monday night, throwing nine scoreless innings while holding the Marlins to just six hits and walk and striking out seven as the offense also came back alive in an easy 12-0 win over the Marlins.
Woodruff allowed just two Marlins players to reach third base all night in an outing in which he threw 106 pitches. With the Brewers on day four in a 17-day stretch of games, it was a huge opportunity to completely rest the team's bullpen.
Willy Adames was the star of a very potent offense as he went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple, scoring three times and driving in four. Tyrone Taylor also went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI hits while Josh Donaldson made his Brewers debut and had an RBI single.
What is the Milwaukee Brewers magic number?
With the win on Monday, the Brewers' magic number to win the NL Central has dropped down to 16. Their lead in the division didn't change, however, as the Cubs also won and kept the gap between first and second in the division at three games.
As a reminder, per the MLB website, "A team's magic number represents the combination of wins needed by that team and losses by its closest competitor to clinch a given goal. Every time a team wins, its magic number decreases by one. Similarly, every time that team's closest competitor for the division (or Wild Card) loses, the magic number also decreases by one."
The basement dwelling Rockies almost gifted the Brewers another game off their magic number as they took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth last night. But Chicago quickly put themselves back in front on a Yan Gomes two-run single with no outs. That was all the Cubs needed as they held on for a 5-4 victory over Colorado on the road.
With the Cubs playing such a weak team, the Brewers need to take as many games from the Marlins as they can, but it could be a battle. Miami has won seven of their last 10 despite last night's loss and is fighting for their playoff lives as they currently sit 1.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot in the NL.
The Brewers will look to take another game from the Marlins on Tuesday when Freddy Peralta takes the mound as starter for the Crew. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40pm CDT.