The 2019 MLB Playoffs get started Tuesday with the NL Wild Card Game. The Washington Nationals will be hosting the Milwaukee Brewers in this one. Both of these teams are playing really well coming into the postseason. The Brewers went 32-21 in August and September, while the Nationals went 36-18 in that same stretch.
NL Wild Card Game
Nationals Pitching vs Brewers Lineup
The Nationals have a great starting staff and they’ll be sending Max Scherzer out to start this game. Most would think that bodes well for the Nationals. However, Scherzer hasn’t quite been himself in the second half of the season, albeit he spent time being injured.
The main key to the game will be early on. Scherzer’s first-inning ERA this season is 4.33, but he gets significantly better afterward up until the seventh inning.
If Milwaukee can get into the bullpen earlier, it gives them a much better chance. However, with it being a one-game playoff, don’t be surprised if Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin are available out of the bullpen.
With no Christian Yelich, this lineup is a lot more manageable. Also, this lineup struck out at the second-highest percentage in the National League. On the flip side, they were walked at the highest percentage. That means the pitch counts will likely be worked when Milwaukee is up to bat, but will it result in more strikeouts or more free passes?
Brewers Pitching vs Nationals Lineup
This battle feels much more up in the air. Brandon Woodruff certainly isn’t the name or pitcher that Scherzer is. However, he’s capable. He hasn’t been nearly as good away from Miller Park as he has been at it, but he’s been very strong the second half of the season.
The other thing Milwaukee has going for it is Woodruff has been very good in the first two innings of games. Assuming Milwaukee plays things like they did last postseason, Woodruff will likely not go very deep. That will enable him to go all out at the start of the game.
The dangerous thing is the Brewers bullpen isn’t as good as last season. Josh Hader is still a very effective weapon out of the bullpen. Junior Guerra is the next best option, but outside of those two, they aren’t very deep.
That could be problematic going against a very deep lineup. Anthony Rendon has been as good as anyone in the box this season, and the lineup as a whole doesn’t strike out, they get walked and they hit extra-base hits.
Craig Counsell will have to be on his “A-game” when it comes to putting the right pitchers in the right situations because this lineup is not easy to face.
Overall, these two pitching staffs will likely be used very differently. Also, these lineups are very different, but they have the capability of being dangerous in a one-game playoff.
Top Photo: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post