Lauer finale fill-in for Woodruff (illness)

Lefty set to start against Cleveland on Sunday; Escobar, Urías pack power punch

September 11th, 2021

CLEVELAND -- A brief bout with a stomach bug will cause to miss Sunday’s scheduled start at Progressive Field. Eric Lauer will start in Woodruff’s place.

Woodruff came down with the issue on Friday afternoon, and, though he was feeling much better on Saturday, the Brewers wanted to give him time to fully recuperate. So he will instead pitch on Wednesday against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

“He didn't have a good day,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Woodruff. "He lost some weight. So we're gonna give him a couple days to regain his strength.”

A contender for the National League Cy Young Award, Woodruff is 9-8 with a 2.48 ERA, a 170 ERA+ and a 0.97 WHIP in 27 starts.

The change in plans means Lauer will now be making his 17th start of the season on regular rest instead of having extra rest because of the Brewers’ spate of off-days at this juncture of the schedule.

Milwaukee will finish up this road trip around Lake Erie with Freddy Peralta starting on Tuesday and Woodruff going on Wednesday. It is still unclear when left-hander Brett Anderson, who was struck by a liner to his pitching shoulder earlier this month and landed on the injured list, will rejoin the rotation, but Counsell expects him to still make some starts before the conclusion of the regular season.

“Our plan,” Counsell said, “is to get through the road trip and then we’ve got to start making some decisions on a rotation as we get back home.”

Switch-hitting Esky

Eduardo Escobar homered from both sides of the plate on Friday for the fourth time in his career, which is incredible.

He did it in consecutive innings, which is really incredible.

He did it leading off both innings, which is really, really incredible.

And he did it on the first pitch both times, which is really, really, really incredible.

But what’s really, really, really, really incredible is that Escobar didn’t even take up switch-hitting until he was 17 years old. Prior to that, he only swung from the right-hand side. It was Amador Arias, a Latin American scout for the White Sox, who signed Escobar in his native Venezuela and gave him what turned out to be a great piece of advice.

“You want to play in the big leagues a long time?” Arias told Escobar. “You need to play shortstop and switch-hit.”

Fifteen years later, Escobar, a midseason trade acquisition for Milwaukee, has carved out a nice career for himself. And interestingly, he has a better slash line from the left-hand side (.276/.320/.453) than he does from his natural side (.249/.305/.431).

“It's really hard when you start,” he said, “because you’ve never tried it. But you practice every day, and it feels better and better and better.”

Practice has paid off. The only active players with more games in which they’ve homered from both sides of the plate are Cleveland’s José Ramírez (six) and the Royals’ Carlos Santana (five).

“It feels really good,” Escobar said. “You get a homer from the left side, then you come to the right side and homer again. People say, ‘What can I do with this kid?’”

Urías’ bat has been big

The 24-year-old Luis Urías is the seventh player (10 times overall) in franchise history to produce a 20-homer season prior to turning 25. He joined Sixto Lezcano, Robin Yount, Dale Sveum, Prince Fielder (three times), J.J. Hardy and Ryan Braun (twice).

“As he's kind of gotten comfortable, we've seen a really good young hitter,” Counsell said of Urías. “We’re not surprised by the power. I know we didn't see any of it last year, but we’re not surprised that we're seeing this from Luis.”

Urías lost his starting shortstop role when the Brewers acquired Willy Adames, only to regain it of late as Adames nurses a quadriceps injury. But Adames or no Adames, Urías has been able to get regular at-bats because of his positional versatility. And that’s allowed him to lead the Brewers in runs (70) and extra-base hits (46), while ranking second in hits (109), doubles (25), homers (20), RBIs (65) and walks (52), entering Saturday.