Why The Brewers Can Withstand The Massive Loss Of Brandon Woodruff In The Playoffs

Brandon Woodruff is out with a shoulder injury for an unknown period of time
Sep 11, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff (53) looks in
Sep 11, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff (53) looks in / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers are a team that was built for October. This year, as a unit, their pitching staff finished with the best ERA in baseball, the offense changed and adapted over the course of the season while also simultaneously adding several pieces, and defensively they finished second in defensive runs saved.

Overall they are a pretty solid team that doesn't particularly have a lot of featured players. However they did have a trio on top of their starting rotation in Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta that is one of the best in baseball.

Unfortunately they will not have Brandon Woodruff with them for at minimum the Wild Card Series as he re-aggravated his throwing shoulder after an injury that kept him sidelined most of this season. This was unexpected news just one day before starting a best of three game playoff series against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the prognosis to pitch this postseason is not good.

How can the Milwaukee Brewers withstand the loss of Brandon Woodruff?

As mentioned above, the 2023 Milwaukee Brewers had the best ERA in baseball this year at 3.71. Their starting pitchers overall finished seventh best with a 3.94 ERA and their bullpen was the second best a 3.40. It's clear that they have a very well rounded pitching staff, especially when you consider that Brandon Woodruff made just 11 starts this year. They were without him for months and weathered the storm, so why can't they do that again?

With Brandon Woodruff out for the foreseeable future the Brewers may have to rely upon some of their unsung heroes to start games past the Wild Card Series. Wade Miley would be a logical candidate to get a start against the Arizona Diamondbacks now, but after that should Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta remain on normal rest it could be Adrian Houser or Colin Rea filling in for a spot playoff start.

Another big thing to take into consideration is the Brewers bullpen. Bryse Wilson was a good innings eater for the team while also excelling at keeping games close. Hoby Milner is effective against both right and left handed batters, and Trevor Megill is a tough at-bat for anyone. This year Megill has been used in an opener role, but any of the three could have a significant role in a best of five or seven game series.

Branching off of that, with how deep this pitching unit is we could see Craig Counsell get creative by piecing together games with multiple pitchers. He most famously did this last against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018 and that strategy got them one game away from the World Series. Should Milwaukee be fortunate enough to advance to the NLDS and NLCS in 2023 they would have to go through LA and likely Atlanta.

While Brandon Woodruff's injury is a big blow to the team the Brewers pitching staff does have the pieces and depth to overcome it. They essentially did that all of this year anyway and still managed to have the best ERA in baseball.