Brandon Woodruff insists he will be focused on results, not revenge, when he and the Milwaukee Brewers wrap up a three-game series against the host Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon.
The rubber match of the three-game series offers a potentially dramatic storyline. The Cubs threw at Woodruff back on April 13 — a move that came after Brewers pitchers had plunked multiple Cubs hitters.
Cubs right-hander Ryan Tepera drew a three-game suspension for throwing a 95 mph fastball behind Woodruff’s legs. Tepera described the pitch as “a message that we had enough” after Willson Contreras and others were hit by Brewers pitchers.
This time around, Woodruff said, he does not plan to escalate the feud.
“I get it. I know you want me to try to say something, but I’ll put it behind me,” Woodruff said. “It is what it is. I know that’s kind of a big story, but I’m not looking at (Sunday) as, ‘I’m going to come in here and hurt somebody’ or something. That’s not it at all.
“I’m just trying to compete and I’m trying to throw strikes and I’m trying to get outs and that’s it. I’m not worried about anything else. I knew the questions would come, but seriously, I haven’t thought about that since that series ended, and I’m totally just focused on trying to do my job.”
Woodruff (1-0, 1.96 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season and his third against the Cubs. The right-hander has limited Chicago to one run on four hits in 13 innings this season, but he still is looking for his first win against the division rivals as he is 0-1 with a 3.48 ERA in 10 career appearances (eight starts).
The Cubs will counter with right-hander Jake Arrieta (3-1, 2.86), who also will make his fifth start of the season. He will face the Brewers for the second time this season, following an initial meeting April 14 in which he allowed three runs on four hits in five innings.
The 35-year-old Arrieta is 9-8 with a 3.38 ERA in 20 career starts against the Brewers.
In his most recent outing, Arrieta earned the win against the New York Mets. He gave up one run on three hits, walked three and struck out four — all while wearing short sleeves with the game-time temperature at 36 degrees.
“Battled, did a nice job of limiting damage,” Arrieta said. “Had some walks in there, but still was competitive throughout.”
The Cubs won the series opener 15-2 on Friday before falling short 4-3 on Saturday.
Manny Pina delivered a pinch-hit, two-run home run that proved to be the difference in Saturday’s win for the Brewers. Milwaukee won for the fourth time in the past five games, and Chicago’s four-game winning streak came to an end.
The teams already have faced each other eight times this season, with Milwaukee holding a 5-3 edge. The Brewers are 2-1 on their home field and 3-2 at Wrigley Field.
–Field Level Media