|Aces set to match up for Brewers, Reds|
Sonny Gray has been simply stellar for the Cincinnati Reds during the early portion of this condensed season. Meanwhile, Brandon Woodruff has looked pretty solid for the Milwaukee Brewers.
These two staff aces will match up Sunday afternoon, when the visiting Reds look to complete a three-game series sweep of the Brewers.
Gray (3-0, 0.96 ERA) has been the epitome of a major league ace through three impressive starts in 2020. He's allowed just two earned runs and struck out 28 over 18 2/3 innings. One of those earned runs came over six innings -- while fanning eight -- during a 3-2 victory over Cleveland on Monday.
The right-hander actually yielded two overall runs through the first two innings of that contest. He then settled down -- retiring 12 straight batters at one point -- and got enough support to earn another victory.
"I trust Sonny, and I trusted that it would be a little bit of a blip and he'd hold it down for us," catcher Tucker Barnhart told the Reds' official website.
Gray was rather solid opposing the Brewers in 2019, going 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts. He faced them just one other time in his career, back in 2016 when he made one start (0-0) and gave up two runs (one earned) in six innings.
Woodruff (1-1, 2.08) has been nearly as good on the young season. The four runs Woodruff has yielded over 17 1/3 innings have come off a pair of two-run homers. One of those, and seven other hits, came over six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
"Having some games up here and just being on a good schedule and a good routine is super important," Woodruff told the Brewers' official website. "Just get back into the swing of things."
The right-hander, however, hopes to improve on a 2-2 record and 4.58 ERA in five career appearances (three starts) against Cincinnati. Woodruff has been roughed up by Cincinnati star Joey Votto, who is 6-for-9 with two homers against him.
Cincinnati's Eugenio Suarez is 2-for-9 all-time versus Woodruff, but he delivered a big three-run homer in the first inning of his team's 4-1 win at Milwaukee on Saturday. Suarez is just 6-for-50 (.120) on the season, but helped the Reds drop the Brewers to 0-4 at home in 2020.
After striking out 16 times in Friday's 8-3 loss, the Brewers hitters were punched out another 11 times on Saturday. They've fanned 132 times through 12 games in 2020.
Brewers superstar Christian Yelich had one of those strikeouts while going 0-for-4 on Saturday. After homering in each of the previous two contests, Yelich is now batting an unthinkable .114 (5 for 44) with 20 strikeouts on the season.
Yelich went 2-for-5 with a home run against Gray in 2019.
Milwaukee announced fellow star Ryan Braun will not be activated from the injured list on Sunday. Dealing with a finger infection, Braun was eligible to be available for the series finale, but the club said he is not yet ready.
Braun is 3-for-13 in four games this season.
--Field Level Media