MLB Wild Card season is upon us as both the American and National League games will take place in the next couple of days. The Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers will play Tuesday while the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays play Wednesday.
In the National League, Washington will send out Max Scherzer. In 13 postseason games started, Scherzer is 4-5 with a 3.73 ERA. Respectable numbers, but ones far below what is expected of the Nationals ace. However, in a win or go home situation, rest assured the whole Washington pitching staff will be available. As far as Milwaukee goes, they will be going with the recently returned Brandon Woodruff. Since his return from the IL, he has gone only two innings in each of his starts. This means the Brewers will most likely rely on a bullpen game. In regards to the offense, the Nationals will continue to rely on the likes of Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto.
The more intriguing story comes out of Milwaukee though. Once Christian Yelich was announced to be out for the rest of the season, things looked bleak. However, the offense has gotten increased production from Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Ryan Braun in Yelich’s absence. Realistically speaking though, the Nationals are better built for long term success in the postseason. They’re deeper in their pitching staff and can match up with Milwaukee offensively. Despite their hot month of September, the ride stops here for Milwaukee.
NL Wild Card Winner: Washington Nationals
In the American League, the bigger of the two MLB Wild Card games take place in Oakland. Both the Athletics and Rays played second fiddle to the Astros and Yankees in their divisions. By no means were these teams slouches though. Through pitching and analytic based offenses, both teams with low budgets have made it work. For Oakland, the return of ace Sean Manaea has been a huge boost. Manaea has gone 4-0 since his return at the beginning of September, with a sparkling 1.21 ERA. He will be the man that looks to snap the A’s bad stretch of wild card game losses. They have suffered losses to both the Yankees and Kansas City Royals. The big difference this year though is they will be hosting the game. Nothing less than an over the top energetic crowd should be expected.
For Tampa Bay, the magic continues on. Always known for their pitching, the offense took a step up this year. The main reason being newcomer Austin Meadows. Meadows put up a .908 OPS with 33 home runs, both career highs. Another newcomer has been starter Charlie Morton, who will be getting the ball for the Rays. Morton has had postseason experience with Houston each of the last two years, including a World Series title in 2017. This will prove to be invaluable for Tampa Bay. With Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow back from injury, the top three for Tampa Bay are overflowing with the potential to do damage. Unfortunately, the MLB might not get to see that. The Athletics are due and they are hungry. A matchup with the Houston Astros, a team they took the season series 5-2 from, is all that is on Oakland’s mind. The cowbells will be loud and clear as Oakland advances past the wild card game for the first time.
AL Wild Card Winner: Oakland Athletics
- I am a huge Yankees, New York Giants and Los Angeles Lakers fan. However I have a huge passion for all three sports in general across the MLB, NFL, and NBA. I also cover the Cal State Long Beach Men's Basketball team.