Moments after the Nationals released their Wild Card roster, the Brewers have followed suit. The Milwaukee group notably includes center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who has been limited of late by injury and could be a game-time decision.
Otherwise, the club is preparing for a contest in which manager Craig Counsell will likely call upon quite a few members of this 25-man unit:
- Brandon Woodruff (probable starter)
- Chase Anderson
- Junior Guerra
- Jay Jackson
- Jordan Lyles
- Freddy Peralta
- Orlando Arcia
- Tyler Austin
- Keston Hiura
- Mike Moustakas
- Hernan Perez
- Travis Shaw
- Cory Spangenberg
- Eric Thames
With four lefties on hand, it’s fair to presume that the Brewers will aim to match up whenever possible. But the team is also going to need to get a number of innings out of each arm. Woodruff will presumably take two or three frames, with righties Lyles, Anderson, and Guerra options to fill volume behind him.
It’d be a surprise if Josh Hader doesn’t end up throwing more than one inning, but it remains to be seen whether the club will deploy him early or save him for the end of the contest. Don’t forget that the team suddenly has another southpaw strikeout weapon in the form of key mid-season trade acquisition Pomeranz. He and fellow lefty Suter are also capable of working multiple frames. By mixing these pitchers in with the aforementioned starters, Counsell could go back and forth between lefties and righties all game long. Though the Brewers have long foregone significant rotation additions, they’ll trust that their deep and talented pitching staff can defeat the Nats’ more traditional trio of top-shelf starters (each of whom will be available this evening).
Cain remains the big question on the position-player side. He obviously feels well enough to be a possibility to play, though that could end up being determined by pre-game workouts. Perhaps there’s a chance he opens the game and goes as long as he can, or is held back for late-game need. Whatever approach the club takes, it’ll have a significant impact on the way the contest unfolds.
It’s possible to draw up an anticipated strategy for a game like this, but odds are it’ll go out the window as soon as things get underway. Counsell will be trying to get the best possible matchups from the jump while also keeping an eye on how early-game moves impact his options as the contest proceeds.