MLB Wild Card Games Preview


Washington Nationals' ace Mac Scherzer Photo Credit: Washington Post

Sam Anthony, Staff Writer

The Wild-Card games occur on Tuesday, October 1st and Wednesday, October 2nd. On Tuesday, the Nationals host the Brewers, and on Wednesday, the Athletics host the Rays. By the end of the second game, two teams will be eliminated and the other two teams will advance. In a win-or-go-home game, teams will not be slow to go to the bullpen if needed. In each of these games, it will be interesting to see how the teams use their bullpens, considering how much their bullpens and starters differ. 

The A’s and Brewers do not have a shut-down ace and will likely rely on their bullpens. Each team will likely have a short-leash with their starters, so it will be interesting to see how quick they pull their pitchers from the mound. The other two teams, the Nationals and Rays, each have an ace. The Nationals have an issue, however, as Max Scherzer, who is normally dominant, has not been at the top of his game since coming off the injured list. Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg are available out of the bullpen, so it will be key to watch how long the team lets Scherzer go. He has one of  the best track records in the league, but his recent underperformance has caused some concern. In the case of a poor performance, it will be interesting to see how long they let Scherzer pitch, considering the Nats’ bullpen struggles and Corbin’s and Strasburg’s lack of bullpen experience. The Rays are in the opposite situation. They have an ace who has been dominant over his last few starts, and they have a great bullpen with no starters. Considering the strength of their bullpen, they may opt to pull Charlie Morton after 5 or 6 innings, even if he pitches well. They could also let him go as long as he can, considering his dominance. Thus, they are in the best situation pitching-wise. Overall, it will be a desperate situation for all four teams, and in an era where pitchers are pulled earlier than ever before, it will be interesting to see how each team approaches these upcoming games.