By: Trent Pruitt
They’ve both played 162 games this season but it comes down to a 1-game showdown to determine who moves forward to the NLDS. It’ll be the Craig Counsell’s Brewers visiting Dave Martinez and his Nationals for the 2019 National League Wild Card Game.
Money Line: WAS -180 , MIL +170
Run Line: WAS -1.5 (+105), MIL +1.5 (-125)
Over/Under: 7.5 (O -115, U -105)
First Pitch: 7:08 CST, Nationals Park, Washington, DC
The masses wrote off the Crew after the injury to Christian Yelich late in the year.. So what did they do? The Brewers rattled off 13 wins in 15 games to pass the Cubs and Mets in the standings and lock down the second WC spot. If they want to entertain the idea of a playoff run then they’ll need Brandon Woodruff to bring his A-game on Wednesday night. Milwaukee has won 18 out of 22 games this season in which Woodruff has started (per MLB.com). When you’re looking at head-to-head performances, he holds to Nationals to about a .222 (12-54) batting average and only 1 homerun to Brian Dozier. Most importantly, he holds the dangerous top four of Turner, Eaton, Rendon, and Soto to a .181 (4-22).
The Nats, on the other hand, will turn to their tried and true ace, Max Scherzer. Mad Max ended the season with an 11-7 record to go along with his 2.92 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Not Cy Young numbers but still incredible for the 35-year old out of the University of Missouri. Scherzer holds the Brewers to a .140 batting average, including a combined 0-29 performance from Ryan Braun and Lorenzo Cain. Scherzer wasn’t exactly sharp down the stretch though as he racked up a 5.16 ERA in September and gave up 9 earned runs in his last two starts to the Phillies and Cardinals.
Analysis & Prediction
There is a lot of exciting stuff going on in this game. Both managers play to their strengths in the by favoring the pitching matchups. According to the stats, we’re basically canceling the top of the orders here with those low averages. Even with that, I still don’t like playing the under in this game because of how shaky Scherzer has been. So I believe the best play for the NL Wild Card is the Brewers +1.5. The hot streak that Milwaukee finished on cannot go unnoticed plus the fact that they have played in these “one and done” games (G 163 in 2018) gives the edge to them. Also, edge to Milwaukee in the bullpen category since Washington’s ranked 30th (last) in the league with a 5.66 ERA and T-3 in blown saves with 29. I cannot wait for this game. I would expect for both Martinez and Counsell to use pretty much all of their benches and we’ll probably see 40+ players used on Wednesday. Sidenote – the strategy that goes into NL games is one reason I’m “anti-NL-DH.” Anyways, take the Crew on the run line and let’s start the playoffs in the green.
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