The Milwaukee Brewers entered Tuesday with a slim half-game lead in the National League Central over the St. Louis Cardinals. After a day off on Monday, the Brewers will have some reinforcements in tow when they begin a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday after activating starter Brandon Woodruff (ankle) and second baseman Kolten Wong (calf) from the injured list. (Reliever Trevor Kelley and utility player Pablo Reyes were optioned to the minors in corresponding moves.)
Woodruff, 29, will make his first start on Tuesday since May 27. In his first nine outings this season, he’d accumulated a 4.74 ERA (88 ERA+) and a 4.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43 2/3 innings. Those numbers are below his norm, and are skewed in part by a pair of putrid performances that saw him surrender 12 of his 26 runs. Woodruff had permitted one earned run or fewer in each of his last three starts.
Woodruff’s return to action should allow the Brewers to phase out either Chi Chi Gonzalez or Jason Alexander from their rotation. Gonzalez has allowed six runs in eight innings over two starts for the Brewers; Alexander, meanwhile, has a 3.21 ERA in five starts, though it’s hard to see him maintaining that mark given that he’s averaging 4.18 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and 1.18 per walk issued.
Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Wong, 31, had been sidelined since early June. He’ll return from the shelf having batted .228/.321/.389 (99 OPS+) with five home runs and eight stolen bases on 11 tries over the course of his first 209 trips to the plate. The Brewers had weathered Wong’s absence by deploying Luis Urías at the keystone and Jace Peterson at third base.
Woodruff and Wong were just two of several notable Brewers on the mend. Milwaukee will proceed without starters Andy Ashby and Freddy Peralta and outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who was placed on the IL over the weekend because of a strained calf.