The Washington Nationals have drawn the Milwaukee Brewers as they get set to host the NL Wild Card game on Tuesday night. Here are five things to know about the Brewers in terms of how they match up with the Nats...
Their best player is hurt
These days when people think of the Brewers they think Christian Yellich, the 2018 NL MVP who should finish somewhere in the top two of voting this year as well. But Yellich won't be around for the playoffs at all this year due to a fractured right knee cap. That is a huge loss for Milwaukee, as he was far and away their best player. You just don't replace a guy who hit .329 with 44 homers, 97 RBI and 30 steals.
They walk a lot
The Brewers love to work counts. They finished with the most walks, the best walk percentage in the NL and had their most walks as a franchise in 20 years. Yellich was a big part of that with 80 walks, second-most on the team, but catcher Yasmani Grandal was even better. He finished fourth in the majors this season with 109 of them. Mike Moustakas (53 BB), Eric Thames (51) and Lorenzo Cain (50) also contributed.
They went to the NLCS last year
The Brewers enter the postseason as a wild card team, but with a recent playoff pedigree. Just last year, they made it all the way to the NLCS coming off a 96-win regular season campaign. During that run, they swept the Rockies in the NLDS and then made it to seven games against the Dodgers before losing at home in the finale. That experience could affect them in a few ways. For one, they might draw confidence from having been there before. But also they could have an extra edge of knowing how close they were and trying to avenge falling short.
Their pitching staff is iffy
One major difference between this season and last for the Brewers has been their pitching staff. Last season, their bullpen was a major strength but this time around it has been merely average. They still have Josh Hader, an All-Star lefty, at their disposal. But beyond him there are some real questions for whom Craig Counsell can trust. Also, they have no top-shelf starters. It looks like Brandon Woodruff may get the ball on Tuesday, and he's fine (3.62 ERA, 143 SO, 121.2 IP), but he's no Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg or Patrick Corbin. Expect Counsell to have a short leash with his starter and burn a lot of pitchers by the time this one is over with.
They took 4 of 6 vs. the Nats this year
Washington and Milwaukee played each other very close this season, but the Brewers had a slight edge. They went 4-2 in the six games and outscored the Nationals by four runs. The Nationals, though, got both of their wins in a series victory at home in August. As far as individual match-ups go, Adam Eaton (.385, 3 HR), Victor Robles (.429, .667 SLG) and Scherzer (6 IP, ER, 10 SO) were the biggest standouts for the Nats. Moustakas (.379, 4 HR), Braun (.429, 2 HR), Orlando Arcia (.385, 2 HR) and Woodruff (6 IP, 9 SO, 0 BB) had the most success against the Nats.
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5 things to know about how the Nats match up with the Brewers originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington