Only ten teams make the MLB postseason, and this year the Washington Nationals made it for their fifth time since 2012. This season, the Nats enter as a Wild Card, and that is a winner take all game with the winner punching their ticket to the NLDS to face the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, October 3rd. The Nationals are going with Max Scherzer as their starter, and the Milwaukee Brewers are going the route of Brandon Woodruff as their opener. Woodruff had been a starter for the Brewers, but after an injury he was brought back in September and only pitched in two games in which he threw only 2.0 innings each. How long Woodruff lasts in this game is unknown, and it is the job of the Nats offense to make it difficult on Woodruff and the other Brewers pitchers.
“We’re different, and I think playoff teams should be different,” Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell said about a bullpen game for his team. “I think that’s cool. Teams have to play to their strengths. Teams have to take advantage of their personnel. You try to put your team in that spot. I think our strength, and our numbers is what makes our pitching good. That’s how we’re going to treat the game. … So, by nature, you handle those situations differently. We have a pretty clear idea of what we’d like to happen, and I’m sure they do, too.”
Don’t expect Gio Gonzalez to pitch in this game for the Brewers according to Counsell as he just threw 72 pitches on Saturday, but then again, Nationals’ manager, Dave Martinez, is putting Patrick Corbin in the bullpen, and he threw 92 pitches on Saturday. If Corbin does not pitch in this game, he would most likely start game 1 or game 2 in Los Angeles.
“Like we do with every major decision, we get together, and Davey has the final decision on lineups, rotations and that type of thing,” general manager Mike Rizzo said on MLB Network about who decided on choosing Scherzer to start the Wild Card. “He does it with a lot of input from front office, analytics, from out coaching staff, but we feel great with Max on the mound.”
For Nats’ starter Max Scherzer, he has declared himself healthy, and he will be pitching on extra rest. In the 2016 NLDS, Scherzer did not pitch on extra rest, and in the 2017 NLDS, he missed the first two games due to a hamstring strain. You can expect a livelier fastball from Max, and a plan for every batter to exploit their weaknesses. We know that the 2018 MVP, Christian Yelich is out for this game, and Lorenzo Cain is a game time decision. Ryan Braun is expected to start this game.
Gates open at 5:30 pm and the Nats are asking that you wear red. They will be handing out red towels to all fans as they enter the stadium, and dress for warm weather. First pitch is at 8:08 pm, and the game will only be televised on TBS. The Metro subway will remain open past the final pitch of the game which will help those traveling to and from the stadium.
Here are some other details:
Ceremonial First pitch: Aaron Barrett
National Anthem: U.S. Army Chorus Quartet
Play Ball announcement: The Sports Junkies
God Bless America: D.C. Washington
As Bo Porter projected, Wander Suero did not make the roster, but Andrew Stevenson did. Per reports last night, Anibal Sanchez is on the roster but neither Austin Voth or Joe Ross made it. It was expected that Matt Adams who has been struggling would still make the roster and he did. Michael Taylor who got a few opportunities down the stretch and made the most of those chances, earned him a roster spot.
All of the local media have special Nats coverage, ESPN980 radio “The Team” has added Ray Knight to their mix. You can listen live on the radio on 980 AM or 95.9 FM as well as Tune-In app and on the live link on their website. He has been doing appearances throughout various shows on the channel, and today he will be live from Walter’s Bar across from the stadium from 7pm to 8pm with a call-in show. The popular Knight will continue doing a pre-game show during the Nationals run in the postseason. Here’s to hoping that is a month-long run!
The #Nats are wearing their home whites tonight. #WildCard pic.twitter.com/KCKUhqTVS4
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) October 1, 2019
Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 8:08 pm EDT
TV: TBS, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):
The #Nats against RHP Brandon Woodruff:
Tonight vs. Milwaukee
Trea Turner – SS
Adam Eaton – RF
Anthony Rendon – 3B
Juan Soto – LF
Howie Kendrick – 1B
Asdrubal Cabrera – 2B
Kurt Suzuki – C
Victor Robles – CF
Max Scherzer – RHP
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) October 1, 2019