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National League Wild Card Game

Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals

Over/Under: 7.5

First pitch: 5:08 p.m. PT


Probable pitchers: Brandon Woodruff (11-3, 3.62 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92 ERA)

Oh man, if there’s a spot for Scherzer, still one of the game’s best starters year in and year out, to improve upon his recent uncharacteristic postseason misfortunes, this might be it right here in this year’s National League Wild Card game.

Despite Scherzer’s standing as one of the legit elite pitchers in all of baseball, that fact hasn’t been as prevalent for the three-time Cy Young Award winner in his most recent postseason work. In fact, dating back to the 2013 ALCS, Scherzer has made seven appearances (six starts), including one outing out of the bullpen when he shockingly gave up the lead (though half those runs were unearned), and his teams were 0-7. Scherzer himself was on the hook for a personal 0-4 mark.

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However, it wasn’t all bad. In the six starting assignments, Scherzer pitched his club into the seventh inning or deeper each time, which is critical when trying to involve Washington’s suspect bullpen as little as possible. If he’s on his game as expected, Scherzer could potentially just have the entire game to himself — or at least eight innings worth.

Best of all for Scherzer, he’s catching a once-hot team at the right time. Not only did the Brewers see their momentum and quest for the division title cut short after a season-ending sweep in Colorado, they also come limping into this game. NL MVP Christian Yelich, of course, is done for the year and fellow core stars Ryan Braun (calf) and Lorenzo Cain (ankle) are both considerably hobbled.

As it is, the Brewers tallied only 12 total runs in the three games at Coors Field, something that should certainly raise some eyebrows. An offense doesn’t just suddenly flip the switch back on again opposite someone the caliber of Scherzer, especially one with important hitters hurt.

The Nationals, on the other hand, come into this shindig suddenly one of the hottest teams around, having won eight in a row to propel them into the top Wild Card spot. They also scored 54 runs during that stretch to finish up the shoe.

That hot offense will be getting an inexperienced pitcher in Woodruff — and one that only recently returned from an injury that had him on the shelf for nearly two months.

Even so, I still like Milwaukee’s pitching situation to at least keep the game competitive and the score on the low side. First off, Woodruff actually has postseason experience already, pitching in four playoff games last year. The results were superb, as the third-year right-hander amassed a shiny 1.46 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 20-3 K/BB ratio across 12.1 innings.

Woodruff has only made two starts since coming off the injured list, going a pair of frames in each instance, but he simply was dominant, not even yielding a single hit or run in those efforts.

Expect Woodruff to be utilized in a similar way this evening. And that’s also another thing that pushes me toward the under, as I also like the Brewers’ bullpen. It’s also not a bad thing if veteran and former longtime Nats hurler Gio Gonzalez gets some of the middle portion of the ballgame. Additionally, we can be assured of more than one inning from the great Josh Hader.

Based on how the juice is currently lined up, you’re definitely going to want to wait like I am up until first pitch before placing your bet. There’s a solid chance it inflates a half-run to 8. Play: UNDER 7.5/8

Last Result: Reds-Pirates Under 8.5 (Cancelled; pitcher change)

2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 89-78-12, +1.05 units

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit (postseason 0.5 unit)

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