The first postseason game of the year is upon us. The NL wild-card game features the Nationals and Brewers, with Max Scherzer starting in his home park against Milwaukee's Brandon Woodruff. First pitch is at 8:08 p.m. ET and can be watched on TBS. The lucky winner of this do-or-die bout will get to square off with the 106-win Dodgers in the NLDS.
We surveyed our MLB staff to see how they think Tuesday night's game will play out.
Tom Verducci: Nationals over Brewers
The best two-strike hitting team in the league, Washington is scalding hot and grinding through staffs with a right-left balance that is hard for even the bullpenning Brewers to counter. Don't be surprised to see Stephen Strasburg in relief of Max Scherzer.
Stephanie Apstein: Nationals over Brewers
The only thing worse than facing Max Scherzer in a one-game playoff is facing Max Scherzer in a one-game playoff knowing that Stephen Strasburg stands ready to relieve him.
Emma Baccellieri: Brewers over Nationals
No, September record does not have any strong bearing on October success; Milwaukee's hot streak doesn't necessarily mean anything here. Yes, Max Scherzer backed by Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin in an all-hands-on-deck scenario is about as formidable as you can get. And, yes, Washington has been the overall better team across the season. But... it's one game and anything can happen. Milwaukee has shown recently that it can thrive without Yelich (and that its pitching can survive, period), so why not?
Jon Tayler: Nationals over Brewers
Even with Max Scherzer not looking like his usual dominant self and with a bullpen that tends to spray napalm all over leads, Washington should still have the edge over a Brewers squad playing over its head. Look for Anthony Rendon to be the difference maker here—and perhaps Stephen Strasburg in relief.
Connor Grossman: Brewers over Nationals
It's hard to pick against Max Scherzer in a do-or-die game. It's also hard to believe the Nationals' inability to win such games over the last decade. The Brewers are about to scrape past Washington's ace Tuesday night and likely get steamrolled by the Dodgers.
Matt Martell: Nationals over Brewers
Max Scherzer will be on the mound for the Nationals, and the Brewers’ lineup isn't 100%. It's not just that Christian Yelich is done for the year, but Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun both missed Game 162 with injuries. They both will probably play, but Milwaukee will need to be as close to full strength as possible to beat Scherzer without Yeli.
Michael Shapiro: Nationals over Brewers
Washington appears tailor made for a one-game playoff, armed with perhaps the National League’s best starter and a potent lineup filled with home run bats. The Brewers must get out to a fast start and must deploy their bullpen with a lead. Otherwise, expect the Nats to face Los Angeles.