Brandon Woodruff

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Brandon Kyle Woodruff

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Brandon Woodruff made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers late in the 2017 season, going 2-3, 4.81 in 8 starts. In 2018, he went 3-0, 3.61 in 19 games, including 4 starts. He shuttled between the majors and minors duting the season, but was excellent after being called up in September, putting up an ERA of 0.73 during the month. This likely influenced manager Craig Counsell to tag him to start Game 1 of the NLDS against the Colorado Rockies on October 4th in what was a bullpen game. He was excellent, pitching three hitless, scoreless innings to send the Brewers on their way to a 3-2 win. His next appearance came in Game 1 of the NLCS, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He relieved Gio Gonzalez in the top of the 3rd, pitched a 1-2-3 inning, then leading off the bottom of the frame against Clayton Kershaw, he hit a home run that electrified the Miller Park crowd and the entire team. It was no cheap shot, either, as the ball was hit to center field and cleared the fence easily. The Brewers added another run to take a 2-1 lead, and he followed by striking out the side in the 4th. He was credited with Milwaukee's 6-5 win, a fitting outcome for his outstanding two-way contribution. The homer was not a first for Woodruff; he had hit one earlier in the season, and most importantly, had hit one in AA in 2016, in his first game after attending the funeral of his older brother Blake, who had been killed in an ATV accident. He was a two-way player all the way through college at Mississippi State University and obviously still knew how to swing a dangerous bat.

In 2019, he became a full-time starter when all 22 of his mound appearances were in the role and he made the All-Star team for the first time, finishing at 11-3, 3.62. He started the National League Wild Card Game against the Washington Nationals on October 1st, giving up 1 run in 4 innings, but Milwaukee was defeated by the eventual World Series winners. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he was 3-5, 3.05 while his 13 starts were tied for most in the National League and his 91 strikeouts were 7th most. He made another postseason start, in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 1st, but allowed 3 runs in 4 2/3 innings to be charged with a 3-0 loss that ended the Brewers' season. In 2021, he finally managed a full season as a starting pitcher, making 30 starts and pitching 179 1/3 innings, both career highs. He finished at 9-10 in spite of an excellent ERA of 2.56, which was 4th best in the NL, and finished once again in the top-10 for strikeouts with 211. That performance resulted in a second appearance on the All-Star team and he finished 5th in the voting for the Cy Young Award, his first time receiving consideration. The Brewers were in the postseason for the fourth straight year and he made two appearances in the Division Series against the Atlanta Braves, pitching 6 innings as the starter in Game 2 on October 9th, when he was charged with a 3-0 loss, and then pitching in relief for 1 1/3 innings in Game 4 three games later as the Brewers were eliminated. For the third straight year, that elimination came at the hands of the eventual World Series champs. 2021 was also the last season in which pitchers got to bat in the National League, but after his 2018 heroics and his batting .267 with 4 doubles in 2019, he finished his hitting career by batting .115 that season, lowering his career average to .191 - still very respectable for a pitcher.

In 2022, he had an excellent season even as the Brewers missed the postseason, finishing at 13-4, 3.05 in 27 starts. He was third in the NL in winning percentage and 9th in strikeouts with 190. In 2023, he missed four months of action with a strained muscle behind his throwing shoulder, but was at his best down the stretch as the Brewers were in a dogfight with the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central title. On September 11th, he followed a tremendous performance by Corbin Burnes and three relievers who had held the New York Yankees hitless and scoreless until the bottom of the 11th inning, only to lose the game in 13 innings, with a gem of his own, throwing the first complete game shutout of his career in a 12-0 win over the Miami Marlins. In fact, it was only the second complete game of his career, his first having come in 2020 in a seven-inning game under that season's rules governing doubleheaders, and it extended his scoreless streak to 21 innings.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL All-Star (2019 & 2021)
  • NL Shutouts Leader (2023)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Adam McCalvy: "Woodruff throws 1st career complete-game shutout: Brewers righty makes history with club's 4th CG shutout under Counsell, 1st since 2021"., September 12, 2023. [1]
  • Joe Trezza: "Woodruff's rare HR comes with extra emotion: Reliever's shot off Kershaw buoyed by memory of late brother",, October 13, 2018. [2]

Related Sites[edit]