The wild-card formula is a simple concept for the Milwaukee Brewers as they open a season-ending, three-game series Monday against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.
Milwaukee (84-75) must win all three games against Arizona, while the Philadelphia Phillies (86-73) must lose three straight at Houston.
“The math is pretty simple,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Sunday. “But we can only take care of us. So we’ve got to try and come out and win a game tomorrow. That’s what we can control. So that’s the mission tomorrow.”
Milwaukee will turn to ace right-hander Brandon Woodruff (13-4, 3.05 ERA) to keep its slim playoff hopes alive, while rookie left-hander Tommy Henry (3-4, 5.98) will get the nod for the Diamondbacks.
The Brewers dropped two games behind Philadelphia for the third and final NL wild-card with a 4-3 loss to Miami in 12 innings on Sunday. The Phillies picked up a game with a rain-shortened 8-1 victory at Washington.
The Brewers scored just nine runs in the series as the lowly Marlins won three of four. Milwaukee stranded 12 runners in Sunday’s loss and had the bases loaded with one out in the 11th inning and failed to score.
“We didn’t score enough runs, absolutely, because we pitched pretty darn good,” Counsell said. “Eight runs in four games. That’s not going to lead a winning series.”
Milwaukee got four scoreless innings Sunday from starter Freddy Peralta, but the Brewers used seven relievers to get through the extra innings.
“Today, it’s going to take its toll for sure,” Counsell said of the bullpen. “We’ll have to regroup and figure out what’s going on tomorrow. The guys are willing to do things for sure.”
Woodruff has been Milwaukee’s best pitcher in the second half of the season. Since coming off the injured list in late June, he is 8-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 17 starts. He is 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in his last seven starts, allowing 10 runs in 44 2/3 innings.
Woodruff has at least 10 strikeouts in each of his last four starts. In his last outing, he threw five scoreless innings, fanning 10, in a 5-1 win over St. Louis.
Woodruff is 2-1 with a 4.55 ERA in six career appearances, including five starts, against Arizona (73-86). Woodruff has faced the Diamondbacks once this season, suffering his only loss of the season’s second half on Sept. 1, giving up five runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-0 defeat.
Henry, who made his major league debut on Aug. 3, has never faced the Brewers. In his last three starts, he has allowed 17 earned runs in 13 innings with eight walks vs. 12 strikeouts.
In his last start, he allowed five runs in six innings, giving up three home runs, but he did not get the decision in a 6-5 loss to San Francisco. Henry has allowed six homers in his last two big league starts.
“Sometimes that’s just the way things happen, but yeah, you never want that to be kind of the highlight of the outing,” Henry said of the home runs.
–Field Level Media