Milwaukee Brewers (89-72) @ Washington Nationals (93-69)
Game 1- Tuesday, October 1st at 8 PM ET, TBS
Starters- Brandon Woodruff (11-3, 3.62) for Milwaukee vs. Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92) for Washington
Washington enters this game with a 9-1 record over their last ten games. Their starter, Max Scherzer, is 4-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 16 games played in the postseason with 13 starts. It will be Scherzer’s first career start in a Wild Card game. He comes into the game with a 4.74 ERA over his last seven starts in the regular season.
The Nats will hope their bullpen can hold up. Long the Achilles’ heel of the club, the unit finished with a collective 5.70 ERA, 29th in baseball and ahead of only the Baltimore Orioles.
Washington’s potent lineup led by MVP candidate and league RBI champion (126) Anthony Rendon and young star Juan Soto (making his first postseason appearance) can continue their high scoring ways. The Nats’ offense finished sixth in baseball and second in the NL in runs scored. They also finished second in the majors in on base percentage (.341) trailing only the Astros.
Player to watch – Ryan Zimmerman
The long time first baseman has a career .290 AVG in the postseason along with an .838 OPS and 13 RBIs across 62 at bats.
The Brewers have announced that Brandon Woodruff will get the baseball to start this one. Woodruff was great this year when healthy, sporting an impressive 11-3 record. However, he suffered an oblique injury back on July 21 and has only appeared in two September outings since then, only throwing two innings in each of those.
It’s a bit of a surprise that right hander Jordan Lyles was not the one tasked with starting the win or go home game. Lyles finished the season 12-8 with a 4.15 ERA. However, over his last seven starts, the 28-year-old is 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Hard to blame manager Craig Counsell for being confident in giving the ball to his all-star caliber starter, Woodruff, though.
The Brewers had a tremendous September, winning 20 games and storming past the Cubs to get into this game. That includes a 13-4 record after losing reigning NL MVP and 2019 NL Batting Champion Christian Yelich for the rest of 2019 with with a broken kneecap on September 10th. However, they were on a 3 game losing streak to finish the season.
Their bullpen is anchored by relief ace Josh Hader. The nasty left hander had 138 strikeouts over 75 2/3 innings during the regular season. Hader made his postseason debut last season, where he had a pristine 0.00 ERA across 7 appearances and 10 innings pitched.
Player to watch – Yasmani Grandal
Grandal will look to bounce back from his terrible postseason last year with the Dodgers. The catcher hit .138 last postseason with a .541 OPS across 14 games and 29 at bats to go along with two errors and three passed balls behind the plate.