1. The Starting Pitching Will Not Matter
Max Scherzer had a better statistical season than Brian Woodruff, but Scherzer hasn't pitched in a postseason game his team has won since 2013. The Nationals are 0-4 in postseason Scherzer starts. Meanwhile, the Brewers are 18-4 in Woodruff starts this year. During the 2018 postseason, Woodruff walked three and gave up just two runs in 12.1 innings over four appearances.
Tampa Bay's Charlie Morton went 2-1 during the 2017 postseason when he got a ring with the Houston Astros. Not to mention he had a great season. Meanwhile, the A's have yet to name a starter. None of this matters because all these guys are on short leashes.
During last season's Wild Card games, the Rockies, Cubs, Yankees and Athletics combined to use a total of TWENTY-SIX (26!) pitchers. In 2017, no fewer than 25 pitchers took the mound during the Wild Card games. The 2016 duel between Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard was an anomaly. Whatever teams win, it is highly unlikely its because of the starting pitching.
2. No One Is Going to Watch
The sky is going to be falling when the ratings come in. Last year the New York Yankees were in one Wild Card game and the Chicago Cubs were in the other. Ratings were up. The good news for people who care about such things is that the Dodgers and Yankees and the top-two media markets are waiting in the Divisional round.
3. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg Will Be a Non-Factors
It's been seven long years since the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg before the 2012 postseason. Harper is now gone. In three postseason appearances with the Nationals, Harper reached base 28 times in 19 games. The Nationals never won a postseason series in Harper's seven seasons in Washington. Strasburg is 1-2 in his postseason career. If the Nationals don't win tonight, it will be the second time Washington went to the playoffs and Strasburg never touched the mound.
4. The Brewers and Rays Will Both Win On The Road
The Nationals are on an eight-game winning streak and the Brewers have dropped three in a row. The Nationals have the second-best run differential in the National League (+149) and scored 114 more runs than the Brewers this season. the Nationals are 50-31 at home this season. The Nationals are trotting out the statistically superior pitcher on a week's rest.
The A's are 52-29 at home this season and won the season series against the Rays, 4-3. They scored more runs and had the better record since the All-Star Break. Neither home team should lose.
Having said that... the road team is 8-6 since the Wild Card was instituted in 2012. The Oakland A's are 0-2 in the Wild Card Game. The Nationals have never played in the Wild Card. Chaos rules everything in a sample size as small as a one-game playoff. So why not pick the Rays and Brewers?