Aces ready for challenge in series at Coors

June 16th, 2021

MILWAUKEE -- Here’s the next big test for Brewers co-aces and as they try to sustain their terrific early-season success: Coors Field.

The duo is scheduled to pitch the first two games of the Brewers’ four-game series in Denver, which begins Thursday with Woodruff putting a 1.52 ERA and a .151 opponents’ average on the line and Burnes following Friday with a 2.27 ERA and a .190 opponents’ average.

“I think the worst thing you can do is overthink it,” said Woodruff of pitching at altitude. “I’m not going to change necessarily what I do in game planning and pitch usage, pitch-wise. I think it would be a little bit different if we were going there a lot, if we were in their division. But you go there one time and I think it’s something [where] you don’t need to change anything, you still have to be aggressive in what you do.”

Woodruff had statistically the worst start of his career at Coors Field on May 11, 2018, when he was charged with seven earned runs on nine hits and a walk in three-plus innings of what became an 11-10 Brewers win in 10 innings. It was a classic Coors Field game; the Brewers scored in seven different innings and came back from deficits of 9-3 after four innings and 10-8 going into the ninth to win thanks to Manny Piña’s two-out, two-run home run in the ninth inning and Travis Shaw’s RBI single in the 10th.

That was Woodruff’s 10th career start. He also made his third career start at Coors Field the previous season and held the Rockies to one run in 4 2/3 innings.

“I would say I’m a completely different pitcher now than I was then, but I do realize what happens there because I pitched in Triple-A in Colorado Springs, which was [roughly] another 1,000 feet higher than Denver,” Woodruff said. “So, I understand some of the elements and kind of what goes on there.”

He and Burnes will try to keep rolling.

“There’s going to be struggles throughout the season, but I think the No. 1 priority is just being healthy and being out there,” Woodruff said. “I think we can do that. I’m talking as a whole team and as a whole staff. I think once everybody’s healthy and we can stay healthy, I think we’re a super dangerous team and that’s a huge goal.”

Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer are scheduled to pitch the final two games of the Brewers-Rockies series as Milwaukee sticks with a six-man rotation through a long stretch of consecutive game days. Manager Craig Counsell believes the extra day of rest between each outing will pay dividends during the second half of the regular season.

Last call
• Woodruff’s take on MLB’s enhanced enforcement of the rules governing foreign substances on the baseball boiled down to this: Pitchers will adapt. That goes for complying with the new in-game inspection protocols going into place on Monday, and for those pitchers who have to change their ways. Said Woodruff, “You don’t forget how to throw a baseball.”

• Brett Anderson’s seven-inning, one-hit gem on Tuesday night against the Reds was the Brewers’ eighth game this season in which a pitcher worked at least six innings and allowed no more than one hit. That matches the modern record (since 1901); the 2015 Indians and 2016 Dodgers also had eight such performances.

• With Lorenzo Cain still working back from a hamstring injury, Avisaíl García got his first start in center field this season on Wednesday. It was a familiar spot, since García made 42 starts as the Brewers’ center fielder in the shortened 2020 season after Cain elected not to play the remainder of the year.