Healthy again, Brandon Woodruff is pitching well and having fun amid the playoff chase for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs are also having a good time while back in postseason contention.
Since missing approximately four months with shoulder inflammation, Woodruff (3-1, 2.65 ERA) is 2-1 and has allowed more than two runs just once in four starts. The right-hander gave up a solo homer, two other hits and three walks while striking out 11 in six innings of a 7-3 victory over San Diego last Friday.
“I missed so much time that I’m not exactly focused on results,” Woodruff said. “I’m just focused on trying to help the team win. If I can do that, then everything else falls in line.
“It’s the best time of year. … Guys start pulling together, and it’s fun when you’re winning.”
Woodruff is 2-2 with a solid 3.14 ERA in 15 career starts versus Chicago. He yielded a solo homer to Ian Happ, and two other hits, while fanning eight with a walk, through six innings of a 3-1 Milwaukee win at Wrigley Field on April 1.
Happ is 7-for-32 (.219) versus Woodruff, but three of those hits left the park. Happ’s first-inning double Tuesday sent Nico Hoerner to third, and the second baseman eventually scored on Cody Bellinger’s groundout that proved to be the winner in a 1-0 Chicago victory that evened this three-game set and ended Milwaukee’s nine-game winning streak.
The Cubs are 27-12 since July 18 and own one of the NL’s three wild-card spots, but also remain in striking distance of Milwaukee at four games back.
“You have a month left to play really good baseball and put yourself in a position to be playing in October,” said Happ, who has 11 RBIs while hitting safely in 13 of the last 14 games.
“We’ve got the right group and the right people in place to have that mentality.”
The Cubs have lost five of the last six outings by scheduled starter Kyle Hendricks (5-7, 3.80 ERA). He yielded two first-inning runs and nothing else over 5 2/3 innings, but his teammates’ bats went cold during Friday’s 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh.
Hendricks is 10-8 with a 3.51 ERA in 32 starts versus Milwaukee. His lone 2023 appearance against the Brewers was a good one, allowing two runs — one earned — and four hits during a 7-6, 11-inning Chicago victory on July 4.
Mark Canha is 8-for-20 over a five-game stretch for the Brewers, who look to rebound from just their fourth loss in 17 games.
Meanwhile, Chicago’s Seiya Suzuki is 5-for-6 with two doubles and a homer versus Woodruff. Teammate Dansby Swanson is 5-for-13 against him.
The Cubs haven’t lost a home series since dropping two of three versus Boston on July 14-16.
—Field Level Media
Field Level Media