Power Sports' 10* NL Playoff Game of the MONTH (Tuesday) ~ 5-1 MLB RUN!
Milwaukee vs. Washington,
10/01/2019 20:08 EDT,
Score: 3 - 4
Money Line: -179 Washington
10* Washington (8:08 ET): This is the matchup we wanted for the National League's Wild Card Game and we got it as the 93-69 Nationals host the 89-73 Brewers. While the difference in wins between the two teams may be quite small, the gap in run differential is massive. A case could be made that Washington (+149 run diff) is as strong as any team as any team in the playoffs save for the three favorites (Astros, Dodgers, Yankees). In our view, they are definitely the 2nd best team in the National League. Meanwhile, Milwaukee (+3 run diff) is easily the weakest team, not just in the NL half of the draw, but of all playoff teams. You've got to "tip your cap" to the way the Brew Crew finished the season (18-5 L23 games), especially in light of the injury to Christian Yelich. But they faced a lot of bad teams down the stretch as only one was a fellow playoff team and only two were above .500. They are very clearly the inferior team in this matchup and we'll play accordingly.
There were 14 teams in baseball that finished w/ a better YTD run differential than Milwaukee, including non-playoff teams like the Indians, Red Sox, Cubs and Mets. You have to remember that they were in the negative until the final week of the season. Not only is Yelich lost the rest of the way, but both Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun are operating at less than 100 percent. Also, it may be that the Brewers have run out of gas. Three of their five losses since Labor Day came in the final reg season series as they were swept in Colorado. Before you go writing those results off, remember that winning the division (NL Central) was still in play for Milwaukee and that would have meant avoiding this one-game scenario entirely. It also points to another issue w/ the team and that it that they have a losing road record on the year. The Brewers may have swept the Nats in an early season series at Miller Park, but they dropped two of three here in D.C. and in two of the games Washington scored at least 15 runs. Washington went 51-30 at home in the regular season while averaging 5.6 runs per game.
Pitching is obviously key in the playoffs, especially in this one-game scenario. A traditional outlook on pitching would seem to indicate a massive edge for Washington in this matchup. They turn to Max Scherzer Tuesday. Was 2019 Scherzer's best year? Hardly. But he still turned in a 2.92 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, both of which ranked in the top six among qualified NL starters. He also had 243 strikeouts in 172 1/3 IP. Washington's bullpen is a problem long-term, but one that will be mitigated here by the fact manager Dave Martinez has already said he will turn to Stephen Strasburg, Pat Corbin or both, in relief, if need be. Strasburg and Corbin both join Scherzer in the top 10 in ERA among NL starters as well as hits allowed per nine innings and having 230+ strikeouts. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is going to use Brandon Woodruff as their starter here. Woodruff has made only two starts since July, not allowing a run in either, but both times he exited after just two innings. So don't look too much into his 18-4 TSR. Milwaukee does have an outstanding bullpen, but if they don't have the lead, that won't matter. The Nationals scored over 100 more runs than Milwaukee did in the regular season. Both Scherzer and Woodruff made one regular season start against the team they oppose here. Both were effective in them. But Scherzer remains the more "known" commodity and thus he's the one we're gravitating towards. 10* Washington