Update on the latest in sports:
Scherzer against Woodruff in NL wild-card game
WASHINGTON (AP) – Max Scherzer throws the first pitch of this year’s playoffs when Washington takes on the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL wild-card game at Nationals Park.
Since a 2013 AL Division Series victory for Detroit, Scherzer has made seven postseason appearances, in a mix of starting and relieving roles, and his teams are 0-7. Scherzer himself is 0-4 in that stretch. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA was slowed by back trouble this season. The Nats will have Stephen Strasburg ready in the bullpen.
Brandon Woodruff will start for the Brewers. He has pitched in only two games since returning from a strained left oblique that sidelined him for nearly two full months; he went two hitless innings each time.
The Nationals are 0-3 in winner-take-all postseason games, all at home. They’ve never advanced in four previous trips to the playoffs over the past eight years.
Milwaukee outfielders Ryan Braun and Lorenzo Cain each missed time in the last week with ailments. Braun expects to play; there’s no decision yet on Cain.
A’s and Rays prepare in Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Rays and A’s will loosen up at the Coliseum, a day before they meet in the AL wild-card game Wednesday. The winner takes on the Astros, beginning Friday at Houston.
Charlie Morton pitches for Tampa Bay. The 35-year-old is in his first season with the Rays – in 2017 with the Astros, he was the winning pitcher as a starter in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees and he won Game 7 of the World Series in relief against the Dodgers.
The A’s have not yet announced a starter. They went with an opener – a strategy pioneered by the Rays – in the wild-card game at Yankee Stadium last year and it didn’t work out too well. Liam Hendriks gave up a first-inning homer to Aaron Judge and New York won 7-2.
Murray and Barty advance
BEIJING (AP) – Andy Murray continues his positive return to singles play after hip surgery. He was a winner over 13th-ranked Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the first round of the China Open. The former top-ranked Murray, who had a hip resurfacing operation in January, fired eight aces and saved five of seven break points to pick up his second tour-level singles win since returning in August.
In other action, top-seeded Dominic Thiem defeated Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-1 to reach the second round, while American John Isner upset seventh-seeded Gael Monfils of France.
In the women’s tournament, top-ranked Ash Barty advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Yulia Putintseva. The top-seeded Australian, who has been nursing a calf injury, received a first-round bye after reaching the Wuhan semifinals last week.