Milwaukee Brewers ace and All-Star Brandon Woodruff is 11-3 this season but he just headed to the IL for approximately six weeks with a left oblique strain injury.
Woodruff injured himself during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. After an MRI on Monday, team doctors confirmed a strained oblique muscle. He will be on the shelf for at least six weeks with the injury, which means the earliest he could return is September.
“Kind of what we expected,” said manager Craig Counsell. “Obviously, that’s significant. He’s going to miss some time, and he’ll do his best and we’ll do our best to get him back as fast as we can.”
WHO IS BRANDON WOODRUFF?
Hometown: Tupelo, Mississippi
Stats: 11-3, 3.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
The Brewers were fighting El Mago and the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central before they hit a rough patch around the All-Star break. The Brewers are 7-10 in their last 17 games. The last thing they need is the loss of their ace.
The Brewers (53-49) are currently two games behind the Cubs (54-48) and in third place in the hotly contested NL Central. The St. Louis Cardinals (52-47) took over second place. At one point, five games separated first from last place. The Reds and Pirates have since cooled off and they’re 8 games back.
All Aces for Woodruff
Woodruff, 26, is playing in his third season with the Brewers. This is his first full season as a starting pitcher. He surprised everyone with an All-Star appearance. He led the Brewers with 11 victories and 117-plus innings. He has 136 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.75.
Whenever he pitches, his offense provides a secret weapon for manager Craig Counsell. Woodruff is no Shohei Ohtani, but he demonstrated a little pop in his bat hitting .267 with 4 RBI.
In limited action last year’s postseason, Woodruff went 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in four total appearances including one start.
Trade for a Starter?
The Brewers called up Burch Smith from AAA San Antonio to fill in for Woodruff.
“We’re going to have to fill in around him,” said Counsell. “There’s going to be innings that we need to get from somebody else. Obviously Woody was delivering some pretty good innings, so it’s up to us pitching-wise and defensively to fill in around him.”
Counsell will now rely upon Zach Davies (8-2, 2.79 ERA) and Chase Anderson (5-2, 3.90) to hold down the fort. He also hopes Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.60 ERA) still has a little life remaining in his dead arm.
The Brew Crew were in dire need of another starter before Woodruff went down. Now that they lost their ace, teams know they can leverage a little more out of the desperate Brewers.
The usual suspects are in play such as Madison Bumgarner (SF Giants), Zack Wheeler (NY Mets), Marcus Stroman (Toronto Blue Jays).
But will the New York Yankees beat out the Brewers for the best of what’s available? The Yankees are one of the best teams in the American League, yet the Yanks have their eyes on Wheeler and Stroman. They also have better prospects to offer.
According to William Hill, the Milwaukee Brewers are 20/1 odds to win the 2019 World Series.