Calling all Brew Crew and Nats fans…. this is going to come down to how long can the starters go. The Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals will square off in the 2019 National League Wildcard game at 8:08 P.M. (EST) on TBS.
Max Scherzer for the Nationals should be able to go the distance, but his matchup Brandon Woodruff has only pitched in two starts after coming back from injury and only went 2-3 innings in those starts. If Scherzer can out last Woodruff then the Nationals look good, but if not, then the Nats bullpen will have to come in and they were the worst in the league if the Orioles didn’t exist, with a 5.70 ERA and ranked 23rd in WAR. For the Brewers after Woodruff, might come to Jordan Lyles, who went 7-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 starts this year.
Offensively for the Nats, the end of the Bryce Harper era didn’t spell the end of their contending years. As it turns out, there is a foolproof way to replace a Bryce Harper: make a new one, or two. Juan Soto and Victor Robles have more than replaced Harper. Soto’s slash line looks like this .282/.401/.949 with 34 HR and 110 RBI. Robles, .255/.326/.745 with 17 HR and 65 RBI.
Through September 10th, the Brewers ranked a disappointing 20th in baseball in the offense, despite having the services of Yelich. Since then, the Brewers have ranked 10th in runs and went an astonishing 14-5 to finish the season without him.
When running out the projections, ZiPS gives the Nationals a 57%-43% edge on Tuesday, assuming that Woodruff will pitch three innings on average. At six innings, that projection would improve to 54%-46% for the Brewers, but it’s difficult to commit Woodruff to throw that many pitches after returning so recently. If the game is tied after six innings, ZiPS projects it as nearly a coin flip thanks to Milwaukee’s bullpen edge (49% Nationals, 51% Brewers).
The Nationals go into Tuesday’s wild card matchup as the slight favorite, but the 2019 Brewers proved in September that they’re not going to go gently.
Basically, the only things certain in this game, it’s in Washington, Scherzer and Woodruff will be on the mound and that Yelich and Harper won’t be in the lineups, the rest will become history.