What's ahead? Brewers postseason FAQ
The Brewers are in the postseason for the second straight year and will be going on the road to play the Nationals in the National League Wild Card Game on Tuesday.
Milwaukee had a chance to force a tie with the Cardinals atop the NL Central on Sunday, which would have led to a Game 163 tiebreaker Monday in St. Louis. However, the Cardinals clinched the division crown with a win over the Cubs, locking the Brewers into the second NL Wild Card spot.
What does the Brewers' schedule look like?
The Brewers will travel to Nationals Park to face Washington on Tuesday, Oct. 1, in the NL Wild Card Game presented by Hankook Tire at 8 p.m. ET (TBS). If Milwaukee wins, it would face the Dodgers in the NLDS, starting with Game 1 on Thursday, Oct. 3, at Dodger Stadium.
Are the Brewers selling tickets?
Yes, for potential NL Division Series games. Information and a schedule of on-sale dates are at Brewers.com/postseason. If fans purchase tickets for games that aren’t played, they will be refunded the full purchase price, including fees, within 10 days of the scheduled game date.
What does the regular-season matchup tell us?
The Brewers saw some of the best and worst of the Nationals in 2019, starting with the worst in May, a three-game Milwaukee sweep that began with a victory over Max Scherzer (six innings, two runs, one earned). Washington was as far as 12 games under .500 that month -- the Brewers, in contrast, stayed above .500 all season -- but the Nats were in much better shape when the clubs met again for three games at Nationals Park in August. The Brewers needed a couple of rallies to escape with a 15-14 win in 14 innings in the middle game of that series to avoid being swept. That was the night Josh Hader blew a save in the ninth and was on the ropes with the bases loaded and no outs before he came back to strike out three straight in an outing that turned around his season.
Key matchup: Scherzer vs. Ryan Braun/Lorenzo Cain/Yasmani Grandal: 1-for-42, 19 strikeouts
Who will start the NL Wild Card Game?
The Nationals said on Friday that Scherzer would start and that Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin would be available behind him. The Brewers announced on Sunday that Brandon Woodruff will start, and the expectation is they will follow the same formula that has worked so well in September, with the starter working at most twice through the opponent’s order before the bullpen takes over. Jordan Lyles, a more traditional starter than Woodruff, was the other logical candidate to start; Woodruff is available for a shorter burst because he just came back from a strained left oblique. Presumably, there would be heavy doses of Drew Pomeranz and Hader at the end of a must-win game. Both are capable of covering multiple innings.
How healthy are the Brewers?
Even without injured star Christian Yelich, who is out for the season, the Brewers were looking pretty good before the weekend series in Colorado, when Braun suffered a calf injury and Cain exited early Saturday with a left ankle sprain. Those issues are concerning. But rookie second baseman Keston Hiura is back close to full strength after missing the first two weeks of September with a strained left hamstring.
On the pitching front, Woodruff is limited but still touching 98-plus mph. One pitcher to watch is left-hander Brent Suter, who has been sensational in September after returning from Tommy John surgery last season. Milwaukee did not use Suter on back-to-back days in part to protect his arm, but Suter volunteered that he’s feeling great, and that policy could be revisited in October, Stearns said.
How do the rosters work?
Starting with the Wild Card “round,” teams submit a 25-man roster on the morning of the first game for that round. Any player who was on the club’s 40-man roster or 60-day injured list as of Aug. 31 is eligible for the postseason -- so, yes, Suter is eligible. The rules allow for replacing injured players mid-round, though that player is then ineligible for the subsequent round. Each time a team advances to a new series, it sets a new roster.