In less than 12 hours, the Milwaukee Brewers will take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Wild Card round of the 2023 MLB playoffs. After missing the postseason for the first time in five years last year, Brewers fans will be eager to see their favorite team on the biggest stage once again.
While the Diamondbacks have two starters in Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen who have given the Crew fits in the past, due to each pitching recently it will be rookie Brandon Pfaadt who gets the game one start against the Brewers. Thus, it will be imperative that Milwaukee get off to a strong start and win the opening game of the series.
To do so, the Brewers need to unleash the perfect starting lineup in that first game against Arizona. With manager Craig Counsell mixing batting orders and lineups from game to game, though, what might that perfect starting lineup actually end up looking like?
Here is the perfect Brewers starting lineup for game one of the Wild Card round in the MLB playoffs.
1. LF Christian Yelich
Why stop with what's been working? Former NL MVP Christian Yelich has looked much more like himself this year batting almost exclusively out of the leadoff spot, slashing .278/.370/.447 and scoring 106 runs. No better way to set the table then by turning to your best player first.
2. C William Contreras
Batting after Yelich for a majority of the season has been offseason trade acquisition William Contreras and that's the way it should stay. He has been arguably the most consistent hitter for the Brewers in 2023, slashing .264/.358/.467 with 20 homers and 67 RBIs (though ridiculously isn't considered by MLB.com to be one of the top 50 players in the playoffs).
3. 1B Carlos Santana
Needing an infusion of offense at the trade deadline, the Brewers acquired slugger Carlos Santana at the trade deadline. The move paid off as the veteran led Milwaukee in homers (10) and tied for third in RBIs (32) after the deadline, providing exactly the run production they were looking for. He'll hopefully keep the lights from going out on the offense like they did in the playoffs back in 2021.
4. DH Mark Canha
Santana wasn't the only impact bat the Brewers brought in at the deadline. Mark Canha came over from the Mets as well and ended up being one of the best pickups of any team at the deadline, tying for the post-deadline team lead in RBIs with 33. He has also delivered a bunch of clutch hits, a quality that will be much needed in the playoffs.
5. SS Willy Adames
It took a while, but Willy Adames finally heated up late after struggling for a good chunk of the season. He had an .844 OPS in the month of September and led the team in doubles (10) and RBIs (T-18) as well. Much of that came when he regularly started hitting out of the five hole so this spot should suit him well.
6. RF Tyrone Taylor
Speaking of heating up, outfielder Tyrone Taylor has been blazing hot over the last couple months with a 138 wRC+ and team-leading .572 slugging percentage since the trade deadline. Taylor has earned a promotion in the lineup and the playoffs sure would be a great place to give it to him.
7. 3B Josh Donaldson
The Brewers acquired Josh Donaldson from the Yankees just early enough for him to be postseason eligible after a season and a half to forget in New York. His numbers have been only slightly better in Milwaukee but he has managed to pick up three homers and 11 RBIs in just 17 games with the Crew. He also provides solid defense at third even as a 37-year-old so for that plus the potential for instant offense, he gets the nod.
8. CF Sal Frelick
One of the most anticipated Brewers rookie debuts of 2023 was that of outfielder Sal Frelick and he did not disappoint, collecting big hits and highlight reel catches early on in his MLB career. He has cooled off lately, but his defensive abilities and elite speed are great to have on the field just in case. Don't be surprised if Milwaukee opts for Garrett Mitchell here instead.
9. 2B Brice Turang
The last spot comes down to another pair of rookies, Brice Turang and Andruw Monasterio. Both have cooled off on offense lately but Turang should end up getting the nod for two reasons: he gives Counsell another lefty to match up against the righty Pfaadt and he provides Gold Glove defense at second base.
The Brewers need to try everything in their power to start the Wild Card series with a win. This lineup would go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.