Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals

Milwaukee Brewers (55-64) at St. Louis Cardinals (65-51)

Talk about a buzz kill, eh? Cardinal Nation was on cloud nine for about three days last week after a sweep of the Reds, and that all came shattering to the ground this weekend. After dominating Cincinnati and getting a taste of first place once again, the Redbirds found themselves taking a beating from the fourth place Chicago Cubs.

Winning the division for the second consecutive year may not be as easy as we thought it was just days ago. All momentum that the Cardinals gained last week, was lost in a matter of three games. Following Sunday’s 9-7 loss to the Cubbies, manager Tony La Russa said, “It’s not over. “It’s going to be a contest to the end.”

Despite losing two of three to Chicago, the Cardinals are 39-20 at home this season (second best mark in the NL), so you have to have some degree of confidence heading into Tuesday.

The Brew Crew is going through a similar skid, as they have dropped five of their last eight heading into this rare two-game series. It has widely been considered a disappointing season for the Brewers. All of the offensive fire-power hasn’t proved to be enough. They sit at the bottom of the league in almost all pitching categories, even while having one of the most electric arms in the game with Yovani Gallardo.

Pitching Previews

Game One – Tuesday, August 17 – 7:15 CST
Dave Bush (5-10, 4.78 ERA) vs Jaime Garcia (10-5, 2.71 ERA)

Like I said, Milwaukee certainly does not have the best pitching staff in the big leagues, and Cardinal fans should be loving the matchup here. Garcia has shut down the Brewers in three starts (2-0, 1.42 ERA) while Bush is coming off a start where he gave up four home runs…in a row.

The only Brewers players that have really laid as much of a finger on Garcia are Corey Hart and Rickey Weeks, but even those two have only combined for six hits in 20 plate appearances against Jaime. On the other hand, Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Skip Schumaker, and Matt Holliday have all have very good career numbers against Bush. Molina, who isn’t known to be the Hank Aaron of the bunch, has three home runs in 18 at bats against Milwaukee’s starter tonight.

Game Two – Wednesday, August 18 – 1:15 CST
Yovani Gallardo (11-5, 2.97 ERA) vs Adam Wainwright (17-6, 1.99 ERA)

These two staff aces met up earlier in the year (a game yours truly attended), and let’s just say Gallardo is hoping it turns out better for him. The Cardinals won the game 7-1 and actually put Gallardo on the disabled list in the process. Yovani has since recovered and will be out on the mound to face off in what could be an old-school pitching duel.

If you thought Garcia had some nice numbers against the Crew, take a look at Waino’s. Throughout the course of his career, Wainwright has pitched against the Brewers more than any other team in the Majors, and with some major success. In 102 innings, Adam is 7-3 with a 1.94 ERA and 93 strikeouts against Milwaukee. The Brewers as a whole are only batting .195 against Wainwright. Other than Craig Counsell none of their players have managed to hit above .263 against him. In other words; stunning.

Gallardo however? Not so much. Coming into Wednesday, the young hurler sports a 6.32 lifetime ERA against the Cards. He has never won a game when playing St. Louis and averages 4.6 walks per nine innings when playing the Redbirds.

Who’s Hot?

Albert Pujols: 22-for-50 (.440), 16 runs, 3 doubles, 6 home runs, 14 RBI, 5 walks
Matt Holliday: 16-for-45 (.356), 10 runs, 5 doubles, 2 home runs, 11 RBI, 4 walks
Adam Wainwright: 3-0, 23 innings, 10 hits, 1 earned run, 0 home runs, 3 walks, 16 strikeouts, 0.57 WHIP, 0.39 ERA
Jake Westbrook: 1-0, 19 innings, 16 hits, 7 earned runs, 2 home runs, 2 walks, 19 strikeouts, 0.95 WHIP, 3.30 ERA

Who’s Not?

Felipe Lopez: 6-for-43 (.140), 7 runs, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 9 strikeouts
Allen Craig: 4-for-17 (.235), 1 run, 1 double, 3 RBI, 5 strikeouts
Jaime Garcia: 1-1, 10 1/3 innings, 12 hits, 8 earned runs, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts, 1.65 WHIP, 6.97 ERA
Mitchell Boggs: 0-0, 4 2/3 innings, 10 hits, 6 earned runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 2.79 WHIP, 11.57 ERA

Justin Hulsey covers the Cardinals for and his blog, Cardinals Front Office, that is also dedicated to Cardinal baseball.You may follow him on Twitter @JayHulsey by clicking here.

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