The MLB playoffs are finally upon us and starts off with the NL Wild Card game. The Milwaukee Brewers will take on the Washington Nationals in a do or die game with the Los Angeles Dodgers awaiting the winner. Both teams had to overcome their own obstacles to get to this moment.
For Washington that was surviving their disastrous 19-31 start to the season. They responded by finishing 74-38.
The Milwaukee Brewers were fourth in the NL Wild Card race entering September and then they lost reining MVP Christian Yelich for the season. The Brew Crew then ended the season 18-6 and leapfrogged over the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets for the second spot.
Now come Tuesday night, it’s winner take all.
When: Tuesday night at Nationals Park. 8:08 PM ET.
Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92 ERA, 243 strikeouts)
Max Scherzer was on his way to win his fourth Cy Young award when he was placed on the IL with a back injury. He missed a majority of the second half of the season. When he did come back he still wasn’t looking like his former self. Despite this, he has found some success against the Brewers. Milwaukee is hitting .182 against the righty. Fortunately for Scherzer, the guy who has done the most damage against him, Christian Yelich, won’t be playing in this game. Max Scherzer needs to keep his pitch count low and limit the number of home runs he gives up for a chance to help his team advance.
Milwaukee Brewers: Brandon Woodruff (11-3, 3.62 ERA, 143 strikeouts)
Woodruff was having a successful season before he also went on the IL. He returned in time to make two final starts. Woodruff will be on a pitch count and is essentially an opener. The Nationals are hitting .222 against him, with few guys finding success against him. Gerardo Parra is three for four against Woodruff in his career and ended the season on a tear. He might get a start just cause he has been one of the only Nats to hit Woodruff. For Woodruff, he just needs to limit the damage before the team can get to Jordan Lyles and their elite bullpen.
Keys to Victory:
Washington- Score early and often. They don’t want to be trailing by the time the Brewers get to their bullpen.
Milwaukee- Keep the game close when they get to their bullpen. The Brew Crew’s bullpen led by closer Josh Hader is a huge strength. If they can up the pitch count on Scherzer early and find a way to get to Washington’s bullpen then all the better.
Washington Nationals: Kurt Suzuki- He hurt his elbow at the end of the season and missed a few games. He will be starting on Tuesday.
Milwaukee Brewers: Christian Yelich– He fractured his knee cap in September and is out for the season.
Lorenzo Cain- He hurt his left calf in the final series of the season. He will be a game-time decision.
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