Tuesday features a National League Central showdown as the St. Louis Cardinals (72-58) take on the Milwaukee Brewers (67-64) at Miller Park. This is the second of a three-game series, as the Cardinals took the first game in convincing fashion, 12-2. In that game, Yadier Molina had one of the big sticks of the game, going 2 for 4 with a home run and three runs batted in.
Monday’s win gave the Cardinals a little extra breathing room in the NL Central, but their lead over the Chicago Cubs still sits at just three games with their lead over the Brewers being 5.5 games. They will look to keep expanding their lead on Tuesday. The pitching matchup for this one features Miles Mikolas (7-13, 4.43 ERA) going for the Cardinals against the Brewers’ Adrian Houser (6-5, 3.62 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:40 pm ET.
The moneyline for this matchup features the St. Louis Cardinals at +135 and the Milwaukee Brewers at -145. The over/under for runs scored sits at 9.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, both of these two fall into the bottom half of the league in terms of runs scored. The Brewers rank 17th overall, averaging 4.78 runs per game (4.80 at home), while the Cardinals rank 21st, averaging 4.59 runs (4.49 on the road).
On the pitching side, it is all St. Louis. They rank fifth in the majors in earned run average with a staff ERA of 3.94 (4.63 on the road). The Brewers come in at 19th with a staff ERA of 4.68 (4.48 at home).
When you put it all together, St. Louis comes out ahead in terms of run differential. They currently rank 13th with a run differential of +53, while the Brewers rank 17th overall with a run differential of -29.
Cardinals Try To Widen Gap
With just a little over 30 games left, the Cardinals know that every game is imperative, especially in a division that continues to flip-flop leaders on a regular basis (mostly between the Cardinals and Cubs). On Tuesday, the Cardinals will turn to Mikolas to try to get another win under their belt.
On the season, Mikolas is 7-13 in 26 starts with a 4.43 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and opponents are hitting .279 against him. In 148 1/3 innings, he has allowed 161 hits, 73 earned runs, 22 home runs and has struck out 109 versus 25 walks. In his last outing, a 6-5 win over the Rockies. Mikolas went six innings, allowing eight hits, five earned runs and struck out three. He will need to be better against a stout Milwaukee offense.
On the offensive side, Tommy Edman continues to be a pleasant surprise for the Redbirds. Over the last 30 days, Edman is hitting .317/.349/.436 in 101 at-bats with a home run, eight runs batted in, 16 runs scored and five stolen bases.
Also in that time Marcel Ozuna and Paul Goldschmidt have hit well. Ozuna is hitting .312/.411/.558 with four home runs, and Goldschmidt is hitting .280/.324/.490 with five home runs. Goldschmidt has also had success in his career against Houser, going 2 for 6 with a home run.
Brewers Need To Get Rolling
Despite falling 5.5 games out of first place in the division, the Brewers are still very much alive in the playoff race, although they need to get it turned around quickly. In the Wild Card, they sit just 2.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second spot. To try to get on the right track, they will turn to Houser.
On the season, Houser is 6-5 in 28 games (11 starts) with a 3.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and opponents are hitting .251 against him. In 82 innings, he has allowed 77 hits, 33 earned runs, 11 home runs, and has struck out 85 versus 28 walks. His last start also came against the Cardinals, where he went 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits, three runs (one earned) and two walks while striking out six en route to a win. He will look to duplicate those results Tuesday.
Christian Yellich continues to put up MVP-like numbers. On the season, he is hitting .329/.421/.678 with 41 home runs, 89 runs batted in and 91 runs scored. For good measure, he has also added 25 stolen bases.
Yelich has also had some success against Mikolas, hitting .214 with a home run and three runs batted in. Other Brewers to have homered off of the righty include Mike Moustakas, Eric Thames, and Lorenzo Cain.
Streaking Cardinals As Underdogs
On the one hand, the St. Louis Cardinals have played really good ball lately, winning five in a row. On the other hand, Mikolas has not played well lately, throwing to the tune of an 8.44 ERA over his last three starts. Houser, on the other hand, has thrown well lately, giving up just three earned runs in the last 18+ innings. Still, it is hard to ignore the hot streak the Cardinals are on, especially when they are the underdogs in this one. For my money, I am taking St. Louis at +135.