Brewers seek another ace performance from Brandon Woodruff

MLB Baseball

Brewers seek another ace performance from Brandon Woodruff

After unleashing one ace pitcher on the helpless Chicago Cubs Wednesday night, the Milwaukee Brewers will hand the ball to their other ace in Thursday’s series finale.

Brandon Woodruff will take the mound at Wrigley Field, aiming to propel Milwaukee to a four-game sweep that would further enhance its already-sizable lead in the National League Central.

The Brewers’ 10-0 victory Wednesday night that saw Corbin Burnes tie a major league record with 10 consecutive strikeouts, teamed with Atlanta’s 8-6, 11-inning win over Cincinnati, upped their division lead to eight games.

Burnes fanned a career-high 15 on just 99 pitches, throwing 23 of his first 26 pitches for strikes as he carved up Chicago’s offense.

“It was a great performance. It was dominant,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “The first four innings were as good as anybody has pitched in a game. Like, not just this year, but for a long time.”

Woodruff (7-6, 2.23) is capable of authoring an equally dominant showing. While he hasn’t won since edging the Cubs 2-1 on June 29 in Milwaukee, he’s coming off a good outing Saturday night. Woodruff scattered six hits in six innings at home against San Francisco, allowing a run with one walk and eight strikeouts.

Woodruff didn’t earn a win because the Giants tied it with two outs in the ninth after Avisail Garcia failed to catch a deep fly that turned into an RBI triple and set the stage for their 9-6, 11-inning win.

“It was one of those freak things that happened,” Woodruff said. “You just move on from it.”

Woodruff has fanned 160 batters over 137 1/3 innings for the year and allowed just 0.89 baserunners off hits and walks per nine innings. He owns a 2-1 record in 12 career games, 10 of them starts, against Chicago with a 2.89 ERA.

The Cubs will send their ace, Kyle Hendricks (13-4, 3.68), to the hill in an attempt to snap a seven-game losing streak. Chicago’s roster, thinned out dramatically by trades that sent a number of established players to contenders at the trading deadline, has managed just two wins in the last 12 games.

Hendricks still has an outside chance at 20 wins, but will have to win nearly every time out. He escaped what would have been his fifth loss Friday against the White Sox, allowing two runs over six innings, because of a late rally that forced extra innings in an eventual 8-6 loss.

Despite the losing, Hendricks said the multitude of new faces has brought energy to the clubhouse.

“Same thing happened for me. I got an opportunity back in ’14 because of a similar situation to this,” he said to cubs.com. “It’s just really cool that guys are coming up and making the most of it.”

Hendricks has traditionally stifled the Brewers’ bats in his career, going 10-6 in 26 starts with a 2.86 ERA. That includes a complete game shutout on Opening Night last July, kick-starting the Cubs to a division title in a 60-game season.

–Field Level Media

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