Milwaukee Brewers (89-73) at Washington Nationals (93-69)
MLB: Tuesday, October 1st, 2019 at 8:08 pm ET (Nationals Park)
Line and Odds: Washington Nationals -183/Milwaukee Brewers +164 Over/Under: 7.5
Free ESPN MLB Picks Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers
When the Milwaukee Brewers lost reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich, a lot of baseball experts left the Brewers for dead. To the surprise of many, the Brewers were able to absorb the loss and march their way into the NL playoffs. Milwaukee finished the season on a strong run, winning 18 of their last 23 games. It might be a surprise to see the Brewers in this position, because they’ve only outscored their opponents by 3 runs over the course of the season. No other postseason team has a worse run differential, this season. They came within 2 games of winning the NL Central, but couldn’t overcome the St. Louis Cardinals. If the Brewers win, they will make the trip to L.A. to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. If the Brewers lose, they go home. Milwaukee is the only postseason team this year to have a losing road record (40-41), so this contest may be a tall order for the Brewers.
Of the course of the 2019 season, the Brewers have been statistically average. The Brewers offense ranks 15th in scoring, averaging 4.75 runs per game. They rank 12th in on base plus slugging percentage (.767) and 13th in total bases per game (14.99). Milwaukee’s offense hits for power well, but struggles with hitting for average. Milwaukee is 9th in isolated power and 8th in home run percentage. However, they are 20th in batting average and 17th in BABIP. Milwaukee ranks 15th in runs allowed, giving up 4.73 runs per game. They are 14th in OPS against, allowing opponents to hit for an OPS of .747. The Brewers are 13th in slugging percentage against and 15th in on base percentage against. They rank between 10th and 20th in most important defensive categories.
Brandon Woodruff gets the call as the starting pitcher in today’s NL Wild Card Game. Woodruff has been one of the Brewers’ best pitchers this season, so it makes sense that he would be the one to get this big start. Brandon Woodruff has pitched 121 and 2/3 innings and compiled a 3.62 ERA in 22 starts, this season. The 26-year-old right-hander has an 11-3 record in his first full year in the Major Leagues. His 2019 performance earned him a spot in the All-Star Game. He leads the Brewers’ starting rotation with a 3.01 FIP, 1.142 WHIP, and a 4.77 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He allows 8.1 hits, 0.9 home runs, and 3.62 runs per 9 innings.
Washington has been the best team in baseball over the last week and a half. The Nationals are 10-1 in their last 11 games and finished the regular season on an 8 game winning streak. Their strong close to the season was not enough to take over the top spot in the NL East. Washington finished 4 games behind the Atlanta Braves, the National League East Champions. However, there are reasons to think that Washington can make a run in the NL postseason. They have a +149 run differential, which is the 2nd-best scoring margin in the National League (behind the Dodgers). The Nationals also have the 3rd best home record in the NL at 50-31.
The Nationals have a stronger statistical profile than the Milwaukee Brewers. Washington averages 5.29 runs per game, ranking 6th in scoring offense. They also rank 6th in on base plus slugging percentage (.796) and batting average (.265). The Nationals are 4th in offensive strikeout percentage, striking out on just 20.4% of their plate appearances. They are 2nd with an on base percentage of .342, but their power numbers aren’t quite as strong. They are 12th in isolated power and 14th in home run percentage. On the other side of the diamond, Washington ranks 9th in runs allowed. The Nats give up 4.47 runs per game. They are 7th in slugging percentage against and 7th in on base percentage against. The Nationals are 8th in OPS against, WHIP, and batting average against. Washington is a well-balanced baseball team, that is above-average in all aspects of the game.
The Washington Nationals will send Max Scherzer to the mound as today’s starting pitcher for the NL Wild Card Game. Games like this are the reason the Nationals are paying Scherzer $42 million, this year. His resume is among the best in the MLB. Scherzer has won 3 Cy Young Awards and gone to 7 straight All-Star games. However, his postseason resume is not as stellar. He has a 3.73 ERA in 16 career postseason appearances. He has a 3.23 postseason strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 1.110 postseason WHIP on 82 postseason innings pitched. This season, Scherzer led the MLB in FIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio. Scherzer has a 2.92 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 1.027 WHIP, and 7.36 K/BB ratio. He allows 7.5 hits, 0.9 home runs, and 3.08 runs per 9 innings.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Milwaukee is 15-5 SU in their last 20 games.
Milwaukee is 11-4 SU in their last 15 games on the road.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Milwaukee’s last 5 games when playing on the road against Washington.
Washington is 8-0 SU in their last 8 games.
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Washington’s last 8 games against Milwaukee.
Washington is 9-0 SU in their last 9 games at home.
ESPN MLB Scores Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals
I’m taking the Over 7.5 in this matchup at -115. There are two pitchers on the mound in this contest who I have great respect for, Brandon Woodruff and Max Scherzer. However, there are a few reasons why I still like the over tonight. First, we have no idea how Woodruff will respond to playoff pressure. He has such little postseason experience that I can’t rely on him maintaining his regular season form. Second, I have questions about what Max Scherzer is going to have tonight. He hasn’t been particularly strong since returning from the IL for the 2nd time. Also, Scherzer’s postseason numbers are solid, but not spectacular. Third, these teams have the weakest bullpens in the postseason. Milwaukee ranks 18th in bullpen ERA (4.40) and Washington’s bullpen is 29th in ERA (5.68). I expect the bullpens to play an early role based on how managers have been using their rotations in the postseason over the past few years. While Milwaukee doesn’t have Christian Yelich, it doesn’t appear to have affected them in the slightest. Washington has one of the toughest batting lineups in the National League. I like the Over tonight.