Monday features a National League Central showdown when the third-place Milwaukee Brewers (64-60) travel to Busch Stadium to take on the St. Louis Cardinals (65-57), who are tied with the Chicago Cubs for first place. The NL Central is by far one of the most intriguing divisions in baseball as only two games separate the Cardinals, Cubs, and Brewers and, like last year, could come down to the stretch to determine a winner. With that in mind, every win matters, especially against a division foe.
The Brewers are coming off a series where they dropped two of three to the Nationals, including a 16-8 loss on Sunday. For the Cardinals, they split a four-game series against the Reds, including a 5-4 win on Sunday. The pitching matchup in this one will feature Zach Davies (8-5, 3.74 ERA) pitching for the Brewers against the Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson (11-6, 3.82 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:45 pm ET.
The moneyline for this matchup features the Milwaukee Brewers at +118 and the St. Louis Cardinals at -128. The over/under for runs scored sits at 9.5.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, the Milwaukee Brewers hold the advantage in this one. They currently rank 15th in the majors, averaging 4.82 runs per game (4.80 on the road). For the Cardinals, they come in 24th, averaging 4.47 runs per game (4.46 at home).
On the pitching side, it is St. Louis that holds the big advantage. They rank fifth in the league in earned run average with a staff ERA of 4.01 (3.35 at home). For the Brewers, they come in 18th, with a staff ERA of 4.64 ERA (4.67 on the road).
When you put it all together, St. Louis holds the advantage in run differential. They rank 13th in the league with a +27 run differential, while Milwaukee ranks 17th with a -21 run differential.
Milwaukee Hopes For Push
Just two games back, the Milwaukee Brewers would love to take this series and start inching their way towards the top of the division. To try to do so, they will turn to righty Davies. On the season, Davies is 8-5 in 23 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and opponents are hitting .276 against him. In 122 2/3 innings, he has allowed 130 hits, 51 earned runs, 17 home runs and has struck out 78 versus 41 walks.
This will actually be his first start after spending a couple of weeks on the injured list. Prior to going on the injured list, he had struggled to the tune of allowing 18 runs in three starts.
On the offensive side, Christian Yelich continues to put up MVP-type numbers. On the season, he is hitting .335/.424/.698 with 41 home runs, 89 runs batted in and 87 runs. For good measure, he has also stolen 24 bases.
Yelich also has good career numbers against Hudson having gone 2 for 5 against him with two home runs and four runs batted in. Mike Moustakas has also taken Hudson deep twice, hitting .750 in four at-bats. Over the last month, Ryan Braun has also been swinging a hot stick, hitting .328/.408/.627 with four home runs in that span. The offense will look to come alive in Busch Stadium.
Cardinals Look To Stay On Top
For Cardinals fans, inconsistency has been a frustration for the ballclub this year. Despite that, they still sit in first place and will look to stay there against the Brewers. To try to start the series off right, the Cardinals will turn to Hudson.
On the season, Hudson is 11-6 in 25 games (24 starts) with a 3.82 ERA, 1.55 WHIP and opponents are hitting .281 against him. In 127 1/3 innings, he has allowed 139 hits, 54 earned runs, 19 home runs and has struck out 97 times versus 59 walks. In his last outing, a 6-0 win over the Royals, Hudson went six innings of shutout ball, allowing five hits, two walks and striking out four.
On the offensive side, the Cardinals are finally getting the Paul Goldschmidt they anticipated when they traded for him in the offseason. In the last 30 days, he is hitting .296/.327/.653 with 10 home runs, 24 runs batted in and 18 runs scored. He has also hit well against Davies, going .444 against him in nine at-bats.
Of all of the Cardinals, Matt Carpenter has the best numbers against Davies. While he has struggled this season, Carpenter is hitting .458 in 24 at-bats against Davies with three home runs and four runs batted in.
Cardinals Take Game One
Despite the fact that Davies has been decent this year, I still like the Cardinals in this one. They have been playing much better ball of late and have been really solid at 34-23 at home this year. Throw in the fact that Davies will be getting his first work in a couple of weeks, and that Goldschmidt has continued to look like his dominant self of late, and the Cardinals seem like a good bet in this one. As always, the Brewers have the firepower with Yelich and company to explode at any time, but for my money, I like the Cardinals at -128.