The Washington Nationals host the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League wild-card game Tuesday night, opening the 2019 MLB postseason. Both teams have been playing very well lately, so we expect to see a tremendous battle at the Nationals Park in Washington, as the winner takes it all.
The Nats opened as firm -177 favorites to beat the Brewers. The bookies expect to see a low-scoring affair, setting the line on the totals at 7.5 runs.
Washington enters the postseason on an eight-game winning streak. Likewise, all those eight wins came at the Nationals Park. The Nationals finished the regular season with a 93-69 record, while they went 50-31 at home and 17-15 against the NL Central.
The Nats are the 6th-most efficient team in the MLB, scoring 5.39 runs per game. Their batting average is also the 6th-best in baseball (.265), while the Nationals have the 2nd-best on-base percentage (.342). They hit 231 home runs which ranked them 13th in the MLB.
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On the other side, the Nationals pitching staff is 13th in the league with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. However, the Nationals relief pitching lost 33 games, and only Miami and Seattle’s relievers lost more games this season.
While the Nationals finished the regular season in a strong fashion, the Brewers enter the wild-card game on a three-game losing streak. Still, the Brewers won 11 of their last 15 games overall and 11 of their previous 15 showings on the road.
Furthermore, the Brewers have recorded 22 wins and ten loses without their superstar Christian Yelich who ended the season with a fractured kneecap. They finished the regular season with an 89-73 record. The Brewers went 40-41 on the road and 21-11 against the NL East.
Milwaukee is averaging 4.75 runs per game (15th in the league) on a .246 batting average (21st) and a .329 on-base percentage (9th). The Brewers hit 250 home runs this season which are the 7th-most in baseball. Their pitching staff is 16th in the MLB with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.
The Brewers took four their six encounters with the Nationals this season and are 11-5 in the previous 16 head-to-head duels overall. In their previous 19 visits to Nationals Park, the Brewers went 8-11 including two losses and a win in 2019.
The Nationals will start Max Scherzer on Tuesday night. The right-hander went 11-7 in the regular season, tallying a 2.92 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. Max is 2-2 in his last four starts and 2-2 in his eight starts against the Brewers in a career. The Nats won seven of Scherzer’s last ten starts.
Scherzer pitched 82 innings in 16 postseason games in a career, recording a 3.73 ERA. He should last for at least five or six innings, while the Nationals will have Steven Strasburg in the bullpen. Strasburg is 18-6 in 33 starts this season with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.
On the other side, the Brewers will send Brandon Woodruff to the mound. The right-hander is 11-3 in 22 starts in 2019, tallying a 3.62 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. The Brewers won six of his last seven starts, but Woodruff started just two games in September after recovering from an injury.
Woodruff could easily last for just a couple of innings. In that case, the Brewers will burn a lot of relievers including the All-Star left-hander Josh Hader. In 61 relief appearances this season, Hader has recorded three wins and five losses, while he has six holds and seven blown saves.
Although the Brewers won four of their six meetings with the Nationals in 2019, the hosts are listed as favorites here for a reason. They arguably have a better starting pitcher than the Brewers, and their offense was certainly better this season.
Despite the fact that bookies look for a tight game, the previous two head-to-head encounters at Nationals Park were pure firecrackers. The Brewers defeated the Nationals 15-14 on August 17, while the Nats bounced back the next day, thrashing off the Brewers 16-8.
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