The Milwaukee Brewers will turn to their elite starting pitching while trying to rebound against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
The Brewers, who lost 6-1 in 11 innings in the opener of the three-game series Tuesday at Milwaukee, will start Brandon Woodruff (2-1, 1.73 ERA) in Game 2. Milwaukee has Corbin Burnes lined up for Game 3.
Woodruff has allowed just five runs in his past six starts. He will try to cool down the Cardinals, who have won 14 of their past 18 games.
“It’s really just about the consistency of what we do, how we do it,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “That’s what we demonstrated over the course of that stretch. … They just show up prepared and get after it regardless of the circumstances.”
The Brewers have lost seven of their past nine games. Woodruff fell to the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 on Thursday in latest start, but he struck out 11 batters while allowing just one run in 6 2/3 innings.
Woodruff did not face the Cardinals when the teams met earlier this season. He is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in six career appearances against them, including four starts.
He has fared well against Cardinals hitters Matt Carpenter (1-for-12), Paul Goldschmidt (3-for-15, six strikeouts), Tommy Edman (1-for-6) and Harrison Bader (0-for-4).
St. Louis’ Wednesday starting pitcher, John Gant (2-3, 2.15 ERA), allowed just two earned runs in his past two starts, but he walked 11 batters while lasting just 9 1/3 innings in those games.
“This series will go down to strikes, like most series,” Shildt said. “We need to throw them and we need to hit them. If we don’t chase a lot out of the zone, we’ll be fine regardless of who play. We throw strikes and control counts and let our defense play, we’ll feel pretty good about that as well.”
Like Woodruff, Gant did not pitch in the earlier Cardinals-Brewers series. He is 2-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 14 career appearances against Milwaukee, including three starts.
Travis Shaw (5-for-12, three walks, triple, homer, three RBIs, 1.367 OPS) is the one Brewer who has seen the most of Gant.
Both teams leaned hard on their top relievers Tuesday night, so both will need strong outings from their starting pitchers and secondary relievers Wednesday.
The Cardinals used Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes for two innings each and the Brewers tapped busy relievers Devin Williams and Josh Hader for another inning apiece.
“Both teams obviously used a lot in an 11-inning game,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after the game. “Both teams kind of pay for it the next day. That’s going to be the case. There’s going have to be some different guys because of that.”
The Brewers adjusted their pitching staff for this series, with veteran Jordan Zimmermann announcing his retirement Tuesday after making two appearances in long relief this season. Left-hander Brent Suter was activated from the bereavement list.
Burnes (COVID-19 protocols) will return from the injured list to start Thursday. Reliever Josh Lindblom (knee) completed a rehab assignment and he will also return this week.
Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich remains sidelined with a back injury, but he has stepped up his baseball activity.
–Field Level Media