Nationals vs. Brewers N.L. Wild Card Preview

National League Wild Card Nationals vs Brewers
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: The Washington Nationals mascot celebrates after the game between the Washington Nationals and the Cleveland Indians at Nationals Park on September 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Nationals vs Brewers N.L. Wild Card Preview

Milwaukee Brewers (89-73) vs. Washington Nationals (93-69)

Time: 8:08 p.m. ET

Nationals Park: Washington, D.C.

Max Scherzer (11-7 2.92 ERA) vs. Brandon Woodruff (11-3 3.62 ERA)

Milwaukee Brewers’ Lineup

Milwaukee enters this win or go home game as perhaps the hottest team in baseball.  Despite losing MVP candidate Christian Yelich to a fractured knee on September 11th, the Brewers finished September with a 20-7 record. Ryan Braun (strained calf) and Lorenzo Cain (sprained ankle) are both nursing injuries but will play. Here is the Brewers confirmed lineup:

1) Trent Grisham, RF

2) Yasmani Grandal, C

3) Mike Moustakas, 3B

4) Keston Hiura, 2B

5) Ryan Braun, LF

6) Eric Thames, 1B

7) Lorenzo Cain, CF

8) Orlando Arcia, SS

9) Brandon Woodruff, P

Washington Nationals’ Lineup

The Nationals, like the Brewers, saved their best play of the season towards the end. They enter Tuesday night’s game winners of their last eight games. After a disastrous 19-31 start, the Nationals ended 74-38. Kurt Suzuki has been dealing with elbow inflammation but started two games over the weekend and homered in Sunday’s win over the Indians.  Here is the Nationals confirmed lineup:

1) Trea Turner, SS

2) Adam Eaton, RF

3) Anthony Rendon, 3B

4) Juan Soto, LF

5) Howie Kendrick, 1B

6) Asdrúbal Cabrera, 2B

7) Kurt Suzuki, C

8) Victor Robles, CF

9) Max Scherzer, P

Scherzer vs. Woodruff

Although there are certainly other pitchers that could be considered, Scherzer is perhaps the first name that would come to mind if you had to pick any MLB starter for a must-win game. Although he’s battled back and shoulder injuries throughout the year, he’s still managed a sub-3.00 ERA and struck out 243 batters.

It’s been no secret that the Nationals bullpen has struggled this year, so in the event he gets into trouble early the Nationals will have Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg available in the bullpen.

The Nationals are hoping to get as many innings as possible out of Scherzer, but the Brewers seem destined for a different approach.

Brandon Woodruff will start, but unless he is just mowing down the Nationals, it seems he will just serve as the opener for a bullpen game.

Woodruff had a very solid season with a 3.62 ERA and 143 strikeouts in just 121 2/3 innings pitched, but he has missed a lot of time with injury. He has also thrown just two innings in each of his last two starts.

There seems to be some concern his arm is not stretched out enough for multiple innings, but Milwaukee may take some risks, however, as the Brewers are 18-4 in Woodruff’s starts this season.

For all the Marbles

Milwaukee took the regular-season series 4-2, which included a three-game sweep in Milwaukee in May.  Unfortunately for the Brewers, they will have to deal with a rowdy Washington fan base that is itching for postseason success. The Nationals will bring everything they have for this game after coming up short the past few seasons.  The winner will move on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images

 

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My name is Alex Winfree. I am a 2013 graduate of Radford University (Virginia). I got my start covering sports for Radford's student-run paper, the Tartan. I covered both baseball and men's basketball. Since graduating, I have freelanced for both the Powhatan Today and Midlothian exchange, weekly locals in Central Virginia. My first love is baseball, but I also enjoy covering football and basketball. I'm currently working full-time as a body shop parts manager for Rick Hendrick Chevrolet in Richmond Virginia, but aspire to one day cover Major League Baseball full-time.

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