The Washington Nationals stumbled out of the gate. The Milwaukee Brewers fumbled at the finish line. It just shows you that even early in the season every game has an effect on who is standing come playoff time.
Both teams, though, survived to face each other Tuesday in the National League Wild Card game. I hate the Wild Card playoff format and I think a best of three would be more suitable but I am feeling like the MLB doesn’t really care what I think in this matter.
It’s the sixth time in eight years that the Nationals have qualified for postseason play. Not bad, but still, no World Series appearances yet. Will that change this year?. They missed out last season for the first time since 2013. But it’s the first occasion that Washington has reached the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
The Brewers are back in the playoffs for the second straight season. Last year, as NL Central Division Champions, Milwaukee reached Game 7 of the NL Championship Series before falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Brewers have shown toughness, which makes them a very dangerous team come playoff time.
The Nationals and Brewers are not expected to make a run and win the NL pennant, but as we have seen in recent years, you never know.
Brewers stumbling into the playoffs
The St. Louis Cardinals dropped consecutive games to the Chicago Cubs, opening the door for Milwaukee. But the Brew Crew lost consecutive games to the Colorado Rockies Saturday. To make matters worse, Milwaukee was one out away from a win that would have tied the Brewers for the division lead. But the bullpen surrendered solo homers in the 9th and 10th innings of a 3-2 loss.
On top of that, outfielder Lorenzo Cain re-injured an already bad left ankle in a home-plate collision. Outfielder Ryan Braun (calf strain) is also ailing. NL batting champ Christian Yelich is done for the season with a broken kneecap. So, I bet your thinking this game is an obvious pick, right? The Brewers will send right-hander Brandon Woodruff (11-3) to the mound, and since it’s a baseball game all it takes is one hot pitcher on the right night to upset the apple cart, which is why I hate the one-game wild card playoff.
Washington is on fire
The Nats lead the NL in runs (423), on-base percentage (.357) and stolen bases (60) since the All-Star break. Juan Soto (19), Anthony Rendon (14) and Trea Turner (12) have combined for 45 homers in that span. The pitching staff is good enough to beat anybody in a series and game one starter Max Scherzer is a 3-time Cy Young award winner.
Prediction: I would bring up the Nats history of failure in the playoffs, but the Brewers have the same kind of history. I am going with the team with the better starting pitcher in this game give me the Nationals.
Washington 7 Milwaukee 2