Game 1 -- Brewers 5, Rays 3
Brandon Woodruff returned from the IL and the Brewers threw him into action against the Rays, with manager Craig Counsell telling reporters pre-game that Woodruff would be on a 75-80 pitch limit. Woodruff was brilliant in his return from the one month layoff, striking out ten, allowing just one run on two hits. Woodruff hit 99 on the radar a handful of times, and looked sharp right from the get-go, striking out seven of the first nine batters he faced, going through the first three innings in order.
In the fourth inning, Woodruff gave up a double and an RBI single, but didn't allow another runner through the remainder of his start. The 99-mph cheddar he threw past Brett Phillips to strike out the side had to be the highlight of his night.
A healthy, dealing Woodruff is a huge boost to the Brewers rotation, obviously. While Woodruff's early season numbers look fairly pedestrian, most of his peripheral numbers are right in line with last years near-Cy Young numbers. If last night's stellar outing is any indication, maybe now the Brewers will get the results to go along with the performance the rest of the way. Only time will tell, but the Brewers are a better team with Woodruff than without.
All that aside, the Brewers entered the sixth inning down 1-0, and looked to make Woody's fantastic return all for naught. With two down and a man on second base, Andrew McCutchen continued his hot hitting.
The Brewers tacked on two more in the inning with an no doubt shot from Luis Urias .
In the eighth inning, Urias added an RBI double to make it 5-1 Brewers. Things got a little bit interesting in the bottom of the frame when Counsell brought in starter Jason Alexander to get some work, and he walked the first two batters, gave up a sacrifice fly and an RBI single to allow the Rays to pull within two. Devin Williams came in to finish out the inning, but using a starter, and a rookie at that to work the eighth inning is an interesting strategy, and one that almost backfired on Counsell. To be sure, he doesn't want to overuse Williams, but in the end, he ended up using him anyways.
Josh Hader struck out the side in the ninth to notch his 23rd save. Woodruff secured the win thanks to the Brewers big rally in the sixth, and bumps his record on the season to 6-3. The Brewers roll into Wednesday looking for the sweep in the two game set.
Game 2 -- Brewers 5, Rays 3
Brewers starter Eric Lauer struggled once again, lasting just 4 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and two walks, while throwing 92 pitches over his start today. While he did allow just three runs, Lauer worked in and out of trouble the entire time, and struggled to find the zone, while his E.R.A bumped up over 4.00 for the season now.
Lauer's day might have been worse if not for this catch by Jonathan Davis.
Rowdy Tellez homered in the second, a solo home run to put the Brewers up 1-0. Down 2-1 in the fifth inning, Urias hit his second homerun in as many days.
The Rays tied it back up in the fifth, but solo home runs by Tellez in the eighth and super utility man Jace Peterson in the ninth inning put the Crew back up 5-3. Tellez's second two-homer game in a week has him now at fifteen on the season and brought his OPS up to a solid .818 nearing the halfway point.
The catwalk home runs make the Trop interesting, if not aesthetically pleasing.
Hader allowed a few baserunners in the ninth, but ultimately locked down save number 24, and the Brewers get the short series sweep in Tampa. Brad Boxberger picked up the win with an inning of scoreless relief, moving his record to 2-1. The bullpen did a nice job overall today, with Jandel Gustave, Hoby Milner , Boxberger, Williams, and Hader combining for 4 2/3 scoreless innings of one hit ball in relief of Lauer.
Next up, The Brewers, Tellez, and his home run road show travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates in a 4-game set at PNC Park. Hopefully we'll get to see a few river shots, but barring that, a few Brew Crew wins.
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