Brandon Woodruff turned in a season for the ages in 2016. He got on the radar of the prospect world by striking out 173 batters in 158 innings, the most in MiLB. His fastball/slider combo worked to the tune of a 14-9 record and 2.68 ERA in 28 starts across Hi-A and Double-A. So what does he do to top that to start his Triple-A career? Nothing, but start 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA, thanks to another stellar outing Monday night at Security Service Field.
Woodruff shut down the Nashville Sounds and limited them to three hits in six scoreless innings of work. He hit a batter, walked one and struck out five on 85 pitches, 64 of which went for strikes. The righty did his part, it was then up to the bullpen and offense to pick him up.
The Sox bats had their own trouble making anything happen against Daniel Gossett of the Sounds who faced the minimum through three innings. Colorado Springs struck first with a run in the fourth inning on a walk, stolen base, and two ground outs. They added another two in the fifth and held a 3-0 lead after six. Things are looking okay, right?
Wrong. Entering Monday’s game the Sounds had notched 9 of their 10 runs in the series against the Sky Sox bullpen. Wei-Chung Wang took over for Woodruff and gave up a leadoff homer in the seventh and another run on an RBI single. Brett Phillips gave the Sox a boost with a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh, but Mark Canha began the eighth with a solo homer and the fight continued. It wasn’t until the Sox plated four in the bottom of the eighth inning that the game was fully in hand.
Hitting Notes –
The Sky Sox were actually outhit 11-9, but they had them when they counted as they went 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position, while the Sounds went 1-for-7.
Lewis Brinson snapped his 10-game hitting streak with an 0-for-3 on Sunday, but bounced back with a 2-for-3 performance Monday. He reached base three times with two singles and a walk and scored a run.
Brett Phillips bumped his average back up to .304 with a 2-for-3 night at the dish. He crushed a solo homer in the seventh, his team leading fifth home run of the year, singled, walked and scored three runs. He continues to impress at the Triple-A level.
Kyle Wren filled the DH role and went 2-for-3 with an RBI triple in the fifth and an infield single that sparked the four-run eighth.
Ivan De Jesus had the fourth and final multi-hit game for Colorado Springs as he went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in.
Eric Sogard had only one hit, but it was an RBI double in the eighth inning that helped put the game away for the Sox.
Pitching Notes –
Brandon. Woodruff. I could probably stop there, but I’ll digress on another tremendous outing for the righty. He retired the side in order in the first, gave up a single and walked a batter in the second, but then went on to retire the next 12 men in a row. He remained solid until Franklin Barreto singled with two down in the sixth to snap the string. He gave up another knock to Ryan LaMarre and hit Mark Canha before inducing an inning ending fly out to center off the bat of Chris Parmelee. All in all he allowed five baserunners over six scoreless innings on 3 hits, a hit batter, and a walk. He struck out five and threw 85 pitches, 64 for strikes. He was electric.
Following Woodruff it was a brigade of five relievers that closed out the final three innings.
Wei-Chung Wang gave up a leadoff homer to Renato Nunez in the seventh inning and could only get two outs before….
Tyler Cravy took over and got the final out of the frame. Cravy began the eighth, but was greeted by a Mark Canha blast to left. He walked Parmelee and Nunez picked up a single before his outing came to an end.
Andy Oliver was next and came into a first and second, no out situation…He threw two pitches and induced a double play.
David Goforth struck Matt Chapman out looking to end the inning.
Rob Scahill was the fifth reliever used and he worked around two hits in the ninth and did not allow a run.
Play of the Game –
Brandon Woodruff was so good it’s hard to pick against him, here’s his fifth strikeout of the evening:
Pregame Interview –
Dan Karcher caught up with Sky Sox Centerfielder Lewis Brinson:
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (12-5) at Iowa Cubs (9-11) – 5:38 p.m. MST
TRANSACTION ALERT: The Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers have announced that OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been outrighted from Milwaukee to Colorado Springs and LHP Brent Suter has been added to the Sky Sox roster after being optioned from Milwaukee on April 23rd. In a pair of corresponding moves, INF Gabriel Noriega and RHP Stephen Kohlscheen have been placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 24.
Sky Sox Starter: Josh Hader is ready to take his 2-2 record to the mound in the opener of the five-game series and nine-game roadtrip tonight at Principal Park in Des Moines. The lefty is coming off a loss against Memphis in game one of the doubleheader on April 21. He has faced the twice Redbirds and Omaha and Nashville once in his four outings this season. Hader got the opening day nod and earned the win with five innings of one-hit ball. The only downside was that he walked five, but struck out six. The Millersville, Maryland native has faced the Cubs one time in his career, he took the loss on September 2, 2016 and allowed two runs in three innings of work.
He enters the season rated as the Brewers’ top pitching prospect by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. BA labels him as the second prospect in the org behind Lewis Brinson and Pipeline tabs him as the third best prospect behind Brinson and Corey Ray, and the 36th prospect in all of baseball. The lefty will make his 18th start in a Sky Sox uniform when he climbs the hill tonight at Security Service Field. The 23-year old is in his 6thprofessional season after originally being selected by the Orioles in the 19thround of the 2012 draft out of Old Mill High School in Millersville, Maryland. The Astros sent RHP Bud Norris to the Orioles in exchange for Hader in July 2013 and the Brewers acquired him from the ‘Stros in the Jul 30, 2015 deal that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to Houston for Hader, Adrian Houser, Brett Phillips, and Domingo Santana. The lefty is 26-26 with five saves and a 3.04 ERA in 119 career outings, 87 of which have been starts in five-plus professional seasons.
Last Time Out – 4/21/2017 – Loss vs. Memphis
Hader dropped to 2-2 on the season and 0-2 against the Redbirds in first game of a twinbill last Friday night at Security Service Field. He allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits across six innings. He walked three and struck out four on 88 pitches, 58 of which went for strikes.
I-Cubs Starting Arm: Righty Jake Buchanan will look to improve upon his 0-2 record when he makes his fourth start of the season tonight against Colorado Springs. Buchanan has the 0-2 record with a 9.22 ERA; he’s allowed 14 runs on 21 hits in 13 2/3 innings. He’s given up five homers, hit two batters, walked six and struck out 13 batters. Opponenets are hitting .350 against the righty from North Carolina. Buchanan faced the Sky Sox three times last season and went 0-1 and allowed 11 runs on 15 hits, walked 8 and struck out 13. His lone start against the Sox at Principal Park was a dandy as he tossed six one-hit innings, walked two and struck out five on April 29.
The Charlotte, NC native was originally drafted by the Astros in the eighth round of the 2010 draft and signed by the Cubs as a free agent in April of 2016. In 173 minor-league games, Buchanan is 50-52 with 4 saves and a 4.20 ERA; he made his big league debut with the ‘Stros in June of 2014 and is 2-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 24 MLB games.
Last Time Out: April 22 – No Decision at Round Rock
Buchanan lasted just three innings and gave up three runs on six hits against the Express. He gave up a homer to Travis Snider, walked one and struck out four. He threw 71 pitches, 42 of which went for strikes.
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of today’s game from Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa at 5:38 p.m. I will get Sky Sox Warmup going at 5:00 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,