Well, that was exciting. The MLB Playoffs got off to a hell of a start on Tuesday with the National League Wild Card Game going right down to the wire with a big-time comeback from the home team in the eighth inning and the Nationals holding on for the victory. This one got off to a surprising start with the Brewers jumping all over Max Scherzer in the first inning. Two batters into the game Milwaukee had themselves a 2-0 lead, and they’d get a solo homer from Eric Thames in the second to go up 3-0. From there, though, Scherzer kept runs off the board before handing things off to Stephen Strasburg in the sixth. The latter would dominate in his three innings of work.
Meanwhile, Washington had nothing going against Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff, who gave up just a solo homer to Trea Turner over four innings. The score would remain 3-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth with Josh Hader coming in, and it looked like Milwaukee was going to move on. Except, well, Hader had no control. He was wild all day and eventually loaded the bases for 20-year-old budding superstar Juan Soto. The outfielder ripped one into right field and Brewers rookie Trent Grisham, in a moment that will live in infamy, had the ball slip under his glove. That error helped clear the bases and Washington had the lead. Daniel Hudson came on for the ninth and locked things down, and the Nationals finally had a win in an elimination game. They’ll play the Dodgers in the NLDS starting on Thursday.
Sox Spin: Obviously, with the Red Sox both not being in the National League and not being in the postseason at all, there’s no direct effect on them. There are two points I want to make here though. The first is that Drew Pomeranz had himself a night for the Brewers. Our old friend emerged in the second half as an elite reliever for Milwaukee and was one of their most important pieces. He faced six batters and retired all of them.
The second point is that Strasburg has an opportunity to hit free agency again this winter if he so chooses. Like J.D. Martinez, the underrated ace has an opt-out in his contract for after this season. Presumably he will opt out considering he’s had a Cy Young-caliber season. Assuming he does hit the market I would not expect the Red Sox to be looking to spend that much on the open market, but there’s always an outside possibility. More likely is that the Yankees look to spend that money, which would not be great. One way or another the better Strasburg pitches this month the more likely he could be a part of Boston’s life in the future, for better or for worse.