Milwaukee Brewers: Who starts the 2019 Wild Card game?

Matthew Dewoskin
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 17: Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Miller Park on September 17, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 17: Brandon Woodruff #53 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Miller Park on September 17, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers will face the Washington Nationals in the 2019 Wild Card game to determine who heads to the National League Division Series. Who should and who will take the mound for the Brewers

Max Scherzer will start the game for the Washington Nationals, but the Milwaukee Brewers are likely to see Stephen Strasburg and/or Patrick Corbin in the mid-to-late innings. The Brewers are known for their ‘everything-including-the-kitchen-sink’ approach to pitching staff management in the post season, but who should they send out against the Nationals aces?

Who’s still in the Brewers rotation?

As currently constructed, the Milwaukee Brewers have Brandon Woodruff, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Lyles, and Adrian Houser listed in the rotation on their depth chart. While most of these guys are capable innings eaters, the Brewers don’t have an obvious option to take the ball in an elimination game.

Who’s unavailable?

Davies started on Saturday and Houser started on Sunday. Both are probably off limits for the Wild Card game on October 1st.

Who’s been announced as the starter?

Woodruff will take the ball at the beginning of the game, but he probably won’t work past the fourth inning. Woodruff has made two starts for the Milwaukee Brewers since returning from the Injured List. He’s only thrown two innings in each, and has tossed fewer than 40 pitches in both ‘starts’.

How should the Brewers approach the game?

The Milwaukee Brewers don’t have an ace like Scherzer, Strasburg, or even Corbin. Since they don’t have a top starter, they’ll need to manage match ups, leverage their bullpen, and ask relievers to throw multiple innings.

Woodruff will work the first few innings, but Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell has a lot of options after Woodruff. He could opt to go inning-by-inning or even matchup-by-matchup depending on how the game goes. Gonzalez and Lyles could both see action as a bridge from Woodruff to the bullpen.

Drew Pomeranz and Josh Hader could also appear early, and work multiple innings to either protect a lead or keep the game close.

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The first pitch of the 2019 Wild Card game is scheduled for October 1st at 7:09 PM CST. Woodruff gets the start, but who comes in next depends on how the game unfolds. This is set up as a classic ‘Johnny Wholestaff’ game. However, the Milwaukee Brewers don’t have quite the same pitching staff that they had last year. The strategy worked last year because the team had Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, and Corey Knebel available to work the final three or four innings. That isn’t the case this year, and the strategy may not work the same way.

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