Editor’s note: All stats are through Sunday’s games
Brandon Woodruff’s ridiculous start to the 2021 Major League Baseball season continues.
There may not be a better pitcher in the National League at the moment, as Woodruff just completed his 10th quality start in a row and struck out 10 batters in his seven innings of work in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over the Nationals.
“I was mixing it up and getting ahead and moving the ball around to different quadrants of the zone,” Woodruff told MLB.com. “That’s what helps out. You are thinking one thing and (the opponents) don’t get it. Thankfully, I was able to execute and get deep into the game.”
The right-handed former Mississippi State standout is the first Brewers pitcher to string together 10 quality starts in a row since CC Sabathia did it in 2008.
“Quality start is selling it short if you are defining it as six innings and three runs,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell told MLB.com. “Woodruff has been better than that. That’s what great pitchers do; it’s deep in the game and not giving up runs at all. It’s a low number every time.”
On the year, Woodruff has an ERA of 1.27 and has struck out 83 batters in 71 innings with a WHIP of 0.69.
“I’ve seen him for years now, and his fastball is pretty electric,” said Nationals first baseman Josh Bell, who saw Woodruff multiple times a year when he played for the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates. “For the most part, he stays on top of the zone with it, and then he’s on the first-base side, so there’s a little bit of deception with an angle coming in. So yeah, his fastball kind of hops a little bit, so you got to stay on top of it, you got to stay behind it. But he definitely had our number today.”
Texas Rangers first baseman Nate Lowe is slowly climbing his way through a slump, hitting .217 but reaching base at a .379 clip in his last seven games. The lefty slugger is batting .249 on the year with a .353 OBP while adding eight home runs and 30 RBIs in 201 at-bats.
Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier clubbed his second home run of the season last week and remains an on-base machine, slashing .333/.394/.471 this season. In his last seven contests, Frazier is batting .308 with four RBIs.
Meanwhile, Seattle Mariners reliever Kendall Graveman, who has yet to allow a run this season, is still quarantining away from the team since he was placed on the COVID-19 injured list. The team announced it may have an update on when Graveman would be eligible to return early this week.
Hodge is the former sports editor for The Dispatch.