Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals
When: 8:08 PM ET, Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
WASH DC – The Milwaukee Brewers went on a tear in September despite missing their best player and made a run at a National League Central crown before settling for a wild card spot. The Brewers will see if some magic carried over to the postseason when they visit the Washington Nationals on Tuesday in a one-game wild card showdown.
Milwaukee, which will send right-hander Brandon Woodruff to the mound to start the contest, won 18 of 20 – mostly without reigning MVP Christian Yelich (knee) – to slip past the Chicago Cubs and several others in pursuit of the second wild card before dropping the final three over the weekend and is used to being the underdog. “We’re going into a hostile environment, playing against a hot team with one of the best pitchers in the league,” Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun told reporters. “Certainly, it will be a challenge, but we’ve had our backs against the wall all month. We’ve been counted out many times. We kind of like being in that position.”
The Nationals, who recovered from a 19-31 start and ensured themselves the top wild card spot and some momentum heading into the postseason with an eight-game winning streak to close the campaign, can negate their biggest Achilles’ heel – the bullpen – in a one-game situation by using starters in relief. “I feel fortunate to have Max Scherzer,” Washington manager Dave Martinez told reporters, referring to his Tuesday starter, “but also (Stephen) Strasburg and (Patrick) Corbin. All hands will be on deck.”
TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, TBS W
PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Brandon Woodruff (11-3, 3.62 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92)
Woodruff missed nearly two months with an oblique injury and made only two appearances since his return, totaling four hitless innings. The 26-year-old, who posted a 1.46 ERA in four games (one start) in the 2018 postseason, is not expected to go very deep into Tuesday’s contest. “It’s that time of year where you just get out there and get after it,” Woodruff told reporters. “It’s going to be a team effort. Obviously, I probably won’t be able to go six, seven innings, but I’ll be ready to go as long as I can until they take me out.”
Scherzer is fully recovered from back and shoulder issues that sent him to the injured list twice in the second half and recorded double-digit strikeouts in each of his last two outings. The former Cy Young Award winner, who struck out 10 and allowed one earned run over six innings in his lone start against Milwaukee this season, is 4-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 16 career postseason games (13 starts). “Season’s on the line, I’ve pitched in these situations before, and it’s just crazy baseball,” Scherzer told reporters. “Intensity’s out of your mind. And you’ve got to go out there and be your best and just compete as hard as you can.”
- Braun (calf) expects to play Tuesday while CF Lorenzo Cain (ankle) is questionable.
- Nationals C Kurt Suzuki (elbow) returned to the lineup over the weekend and is expected to start Tuesday.
- Milwaukee won the season series 4-2, but only one of those victories came in Washington.