This is it, ladies and gentlemen. After six months of grinding, the Major League Baseball regular season is coming to an end. The end of the season isn’t without a little excitement, though. With all the playoff teams already locked in, the seeding and who was playing in the Wild Card Game was still up for grabs when this weekend started.
With three games left in the season, the National League Central was still up for grabs. The Cardinals have dropped the first two games of their series with the Chicago Cubs, but they’ve had two games knocked off their magic number because the Brewers have done the same thing against the Colorado Rockies, including Saturday night’s 10th-inning win. Heading into Sunday, the Cardinals’ magic number is down to one, but Milwaukee still has a shot at winning and possibly forcing a one-game playoff for the division crown.
As of this writing, the Brewers hadn’t announced a starting pitcher and for good reason. There’s a lot of different scenarios that could take place. My best guess is that they save Brandon Woodruff no matter the situation heading into Sunday. It is such a chess match between the Brewers and Cardinals, as no team has announced a starter for Sunday. It makes sense for the Brewers to save Woodruff for Game 163, if there is one, or the Wild Card Game if they’re in that.
The Cardinals moved Adam Wainwright’s start up from Sunday to Saturday, trying to go all-in and avoid a Game 163. With that all being taken into account, and who pitched when this past week for Milwaukee, it seems sensible to expect Adrian Houser to get the start Sunday.
Houser has flipped between the bullpen and rotation this year, making 17 appearances via starting and 17 via the pen. He’s 6-7 on the year with a 3.86 ERA and has been a very crucial piece of this pitching staff for Milwaukee. However, it could be risky as Houser hasn’t won a game in over a month, dating back to Aug. 21.
The Rockies, on the other hand, have made this article a lot easier for me and already announced a starting pitcher for Sunday. And that man is Jeff Hoffman. Hoffman, a former first-round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays, has had a rough season at the major league level this season. He is 2-6 with a 6.78 earned run average.
In his last start, Hoffman left in the fourth inning after taking a line drive right off his leg. Not that leaving starts early is anything new for Hoffman, as he’s only pitched six innings once this season in 14 starts.
Even better news for the Brewers is that Hoffman just absolutely loves to give up the long ball. In his 14 aforementioned starts this year, he’s given up a home run in 12 of those. He also owns an absurdly bad HR/FB% at 24.4%, meaning almost one out of every four fly balls he gives up is a home run. Oh, and to make matters worse, this game is at Coors Field.
Batters To Watch
Usually I use this spot to highlight some hot hitters. Let’s switch it up. With Christian Yelich out for the season, the Brewers needed some big names to step up. So far in September, Mike Moustakas has done the opposite of that. So far in 18 September games, Moose is batting only .189 and has gone hitless in 12 of those games. If the Brewers want to go deep in October, Moose needs to pick it up.
I just can’t see the Brewers losing a game that means so much to their playoff hopes after the terrific stretch they just went on. Even without knowing for certain who is starting, I’m taking the Brew Crew.