MILWAUKEE — The script has flipped in the National League Wild Card Series. The Brewers began the week with their “Big Three” starters all lined up, while the D-backs had to wait to deploy their co-aces.
A day later, Arizona had a Game 1 win in the bank and Zac Gallen ready to start Game 2 with Merrill Kelly in reserve.
“They’re going to come with everything they have,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of the Brewers. “That’s for sure. We beat their ace. They’re going to try and beat ours. So we’ll be ready to go.”
From the Brewers’ point of view, take it from veteran Josh Donaldson, who will be playing in his 50th career postseason game on Wednesday.
Milwaukee shouldn’t pretend that Wednesday is just another game.
“In this atmosphere, it is different,” Donaldson said. “To keep the emotions somewhat neutral, it’s impossible to. But at the same time, you enjoy the moment and go out there and lay it all out on the line. That’s going to be the mindset. We’re going to lay it all out there.”
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 2 is Wednesday at 7:08 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN2. All series are available in the US on MLB.TV with authentication to a participating Pay TV provider. Games are available live internationally (except in Canada). Full game archives are available approximately 90 minutes after the game ends.
Who are the starting pitchers?
D-backs: This could not have set up any better for the D-backs. After winning Game 1, they now have their ace, Gallen, fully rested and ready to go for Game 2. Gallen finished fifth in the Cy Young voting last year and once again should be in the top five this year. Gallen faced the Brewers twice this year. At Chase Field in April, he struck out 11 and walked one batter while allowing three hits over seven innings. Then in June at American Family Field, he allowed just one run over seven innings.
Brewers: Ideally, the Brewers would have saved Freddy Peralta for a Game 3 of this series if necessary, or for a Game 1 start in the NL Division Series against the Dodgers had Milwaukee been able to sweep the D-backs. Now, that’s all moot. When Brandon Woodruff went down with a shoulder injury, Peralta was pushed up the depth chart behind Burnes. He’s more than capable; the 27-year-old had a 3.86 ERA and led the Brewers with 210 strikeouts in the regular season while jumping from 78 innings during an injury-shortened 2022 to a career-high 165 2/3 innings in ‘23. He didn’t face the D-backs this season, but has held them to one run and two hits over 16 1/3 innings in two career starts plus two relief outings.
What are the starting lineups?
D-backs: Lovullo decided to start Evan Longoria, who came up with two big defensive plays and also singled, in Game 1, and the veteran earned another start at the hot corner.
Brewers: The Brewers put plenty of pressure on Arizona pitching in Game 1, collecting 12 hits and four walks plus a hit batsman, but turned all of that traffic into only three runs while going 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Against Gallen, it would be a surprise to see that many chances; he tied for ninth in the NL with a .238 opponents’ average and had the league’s fifth-lowest walk rate (5.6 percent).
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
D-backs: The D-backs used a lot of arms in Game 1, covering 6 1/3 innings after Brandon Pfaadt departed. But the bullpen should be in pretty good shape for Game 2 because Gallen will be on the mound. That’s one of the reasons Lovullo was willing to use so many relievers on Tuesday. Whether setup man Kevin Ginkel is available after throwing two innings remains to be seen, but the D-backs figure to need a lot fewer innings from the ‘pen.
Brewers: Manager Craig Counsell said he had “no concerns” about his bullpen availability behind Peralta in Game 2 even though he deployed high-leverage relievers Abner Uribe, Elvis Peguero, Hoby Milner, Joel Payamps and Devin Williams in Game 1 — with Williams going for 31 pitches and only two outs. Unable to land his signature changeup, Williams was forced to pitch with his fastball and he issued three walks while surrendering a pair of runs on Christian Walker’s double. Asked about his availability for Wednesday, Williams said, “If you’re asking me right now I’d say I would be in there, but that’s Counsell’s decision.”
Any injuries of note?
D-backs: The D-backs made a late roster move prior to Game 1 when outfielder Jake McCarthy suffered a strained right oblique during batting practice. Third baseman Jace Peterson was added to the roster in McCarthy’s place.
Brewers: Jesse Winker, included on the postseason roster as a late-inning bench bat, struck out on three pitches in the eighth inning of Game 1 — his first Major League at-bat since July 24. He bent over to stretch after taking a mighty hack for strike two and was visited by Counsell and one of the Brewers’ athletic trainers, but stayed in the at-bat to strike out swinging on the next pitch. Counsell said Winker suffered an oblique injury. Teams are allowed to make a roster replacement if a player is injured.
Who’s hot, who’s not?
D-backs: Carroll had a big Game 1. His two-run homer in the third turned the tide for the D-backs. Marte and Moreno also homered, while Walker had three hits including a big two-run double off the wall in the ninth off Williams.
Brewers: Taylor is hitting .313 with eight doubles, six homers, 17 RBIs and a 1.035 OPS in his last 19 games dating to Sept. 9 and including Tuesday’s Game 1. … Adames’ 3-for-4 night represented his second career three-hit game in the postseason. He went 3-for-3 including a homer off Houston’s Wade Miley in Game 3 of the 2019 ALDS.