Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: October 2, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, post season, sports, Uncategorized

It took 8 innings, but the Washington Nationals found a way to get past the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League wild card game last night.

Milwaukee got off to a quick start as they picked up two quick 1st inning runs on Max Scherzer. Trent Grisham drew a lead off walk to start the game and then Yasmani Grandel brought them both home with a 2-run home run to rightfield.

The Brewers then added another run in the Top of the 2nd inning when Eric Thames hit a solo home run off Scherzer to centerfield to give the Brewers an early 3-0 lead.

The Nationals got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Trea Turner hit a solo home run to left-center off of Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff to make it a 3-1 game.

Scherzer settled down and then turned the ball over to Steven Strasburg in the 6th. This was Strasburg’s first career relief appearance, but he was clearly up for the task as he pitched three scoreless inning giving up 2 hits and while striking out 4.

Woodruff gave the Brewers four strong innings throwing 52 pitches which is what he’s been doing since returning from injury. Brent Suter gave the Brewers and inning of shutout relief which was followed by two shutout innings of relief by Drew Pomeranz.

All that led us to the bottom of the 8th inning and the Brewers turned the game over to their closer Josh Hader. It looked good for Hader as he struck out Victor Robles swinging for the first out. Michael Taylor pinch hit for Strasburg and was hit by a pitch. This was a bit of a controversial hit by pitch, but they took a look at it and the call stood. The hit by pitch looked like it might not matter as Hader stuck out Turner swinging for the 2nd out of the inning. Ryan Zimmerman pinch hit for Adam Eaton and hit a 2-1 fastball into centerfield for a single as Taylor advanced to 3rd base. Andrew Stevenson entered the game as a pinch runner for Zimmerman. Anthony Rendon drew a walk to load the bases for Juan Soto. This looked like it might be a good match up for the Brewers with the left-handed Hader facing the left-handed hitting Soto, but Soto took third pitch of the at bat to rightfield for a single. Taylor and Stevenson easily scored to tie the game and when Grisham had trouble with the ball in rightfield it allowed Rendon to score all the way from 1st to give the Nationals a 4-3 lead. Soto was tagged out in a rundown between 1st and 2nd to end the inning.

The Nationals where just three outs away from a wild card game victory, but it’s been well publicized just how bad their bullpen has been this season. Washington’s manager Dave Martinez had said that he had no problems using Strasburg or Patrick Corbin out of that bullpen and you had to wonder if maybe Corbin would be called upon to try and close this game out.

Instead Martinez turned to Daniel Hudson. The Nationals acquired Hudson at the trade deadline from the Toronto Blue Jays and while he was 3-0 with 6 saves and a 1.44 ERA in 24 games for Washington he has been a set up man for most of his career.

Up until last night Hudson had one other post season appearance. In 2011 Hudson started an NLDS game for the Arizona Diamondbacks oddly enough against the Brewers and it didn’t go so well. In 5 1/3rd inning Hudson gave up 5 runs on 9 hits and took the loss in Game 2. Milwaukee went on to beat Arizona 3 games to 2 in that series.

So how would Hudson fair against the Brewers as a closer in a wild card game? As it turns out pretty well. Thames struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. Lorenzo Cain singled to out the tying run on base, but Hudson got Orlando Arcia to foul out to the catcher for the second out. Ben Gamel then lined out to centerfield stranding Cain at 1st base and ending the game.

Strasburg picked up the win for the Nationals out of the bullpen while Hudson got the save. Hader was tagged with the loss. The Nationals advance to the NLDS to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Game 1 is tomorrow in Los Angeles. Corbin will get the start for the Nationals while the Dodges starter is currently undecided.

Tonight the American League wild card game will be played as the Tampa Bay Rays are in Oakland to face the A’s. The game is scheduled to start around 7:10 Central time.

Charlie Morton gets the start for Tampa bay while Oakland is going with Sean Manaea. Morton went 16-6 in 35 starts with an ERA of 3.05 over 194 2/3rds innings. Manaea has pitched in just 5 games this season covering 29 2/3rd inning, but he is 4-0 with an ERA of 1.21.

On paper it looks like the Ray might have a big advantage on the mound to start as it’s been asked how many innings Manaea can give the A’s. Out of his five starts Manaea has two in which he went 6 innings and one where he went 7 innings; so if he’s pitching well innings shouldn’t be an issue for him or the A’s tonight.

Both of these teams have deep quality bullpens; so it will be interesting to see how long of a leash each starting pitcher has. You have to wonder if either starter will be allowed to work out of a little trouble fi they get in it or if they bullpen will be ready to go in that case.

The winner of tonight’s game moves on to face the Houston Astros in the ALDS. So who do you have moving on? Do you have the Rays or the A’s getting the win tonight?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you do happen to miss the podcast live all you have to do is find your way over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast at your leisure.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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