Milwaukee Brewers: Who starts the Wild Card game?
The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t yet clinched a Wild Card spot, but the odds are heavily in their favor. Who should start the one-game playoff?
It’s looking more and more likely that the Milwaukee Brewers will have to win a one-game playoff to make it to the divisional round of the playoffs. While we can’t project a lineup until we know who the Brewers are playing and who the opposing pitcher is, we can take a guess as to who should take the mound.
Jhoulys Chacin or Zach Davies?
Jhoulys Chacin is currently the only starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers who has double digit wins, and has made more than 30 starts. Chacin could very well get the nod as the Wild Card game starter if his rest lines up with the schedule. He’s been a perfectly capable starter, but is far from an ace, and won’t very deep into games. However, he is the clear favorite to earn a Wild Card game start
Zach Davies has made three starts for the Milwaukee Brewers since returning from the DL. In those three starts, he’s worked 15 innings, and has a 3.00 ERA. He’s struck out 12 and walked only three since he’s come back.
Davies has been exactly what the Brewers have needed to stabilize the rotation since his return. He also doesn’t work deep into games, but he’s capable of eating up innings, and getting the game to the bullpen. The Brewers would go with Davies on full rest over Chacin on short rest.
How about Chase Anderson or Wade Miley?
Chase Anderson has a sub-4.00 ERA on the season, but he’s only worked 154 1/3 innings in 29 starts this year. His strikeouts are down, and his walks are up compared to last year. Anderson will start if the Milwaukee Brewers make it past the Wild Card game, but he’s not the right guy for a one game playoff.
Wade Miley owns a 2.08 ERA in 73 2/3 innings over 14 starts. That surprisingly low ERA comes with a 5.74 K/9, a 3.05 BB/9, and a 4.23 xFIP. He should regress at some point, and the Milwaukee Brewers don’t want that to happen in a one-game playoff.
Miley has been an absolute ground ball machine this year, and could make a start in a playoff series to keep a team off-balance. However, he doesn’t make sense for the Wild Card game.
Should they do something weird?
Could the Milwaukee Brewers go completely against convention, and go with a ‘bullpen game’ to win the Wild Card? Starting the game with a reliever, and allowing the bullpen to work the entire game could work, but it could also burn out the bullpen ahead of the NLDS and put the Brewers at a disadvantage. If they’re going to make a deep run in the playoffs, the Brewers will need to lean on their bullpen. Forcing their relief corps to work a full game, and then head into a playoff series isn’t a winning formula for this team.
The Milwaukee Brewers are better off going with their current formula. They should allow their most rested starter to work four or five innings, and then turn the game over to Corbin Burnes, Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, and Jeremy Jeffress.