NL Central Showdown: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals

Ryan K

Right now the NL Central is on pace to send three teams to the playoffs. If the season ended today, the Milwaukee Brewers would host the St. Louis Cardinals in a playoff game, only for the winner to face the third divisional team in the Chicago Cubs.

Even though there is only 6 days left in the regular season, a lot can change in that time. Going into Tuesday, the Brewers only sit 1.5 games behind the Cubs for first in the division and the Cardinals are just barely hanging onto the second wild card spot over the Rockies by half a game.

With that in mind, every game is crucial at this point. The Brewers (90-67) and Cardinals (87-70) will both push to solidify their playoff chances on Tuesday when the two match up at Busch Stadium. The Brewers took game one on Monday, 6-4 and now aim to take two in a row. To do so, they will send Gio Gonzalez (9-11, 4.28 ERA) to the mound to square off with the Cardinals’ Austin Gomber (6-1, 3.63 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 pm ET.

The moneyline for Tuesday night’s game is set at the Milwaukee Brewers +100 and the St. Louis Cardinals -120. The over/under on total runs scored stands at 8.5.

Brewers Still Have Eye On Division Title

A lot can happen in 6 games. While it seems highly unlikely that the Brewers will be able to overcome a 1.5 game deficit, they are sure going to try to take a run at it. To do so, they will send Gio Gonzalez to the mound on Tuesday. While his numbers on the season (9-11, 4.28 ERA) don’t look good, he has actually pitched pretty well since coming to Milwaukee.

In three starts he is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and opponents are hitting just .143 against him. In 16.1 innings with the Brewers, he has 18 strikeouts, 7 walks and has allowed just one home run. In his last start, a 7-0 win over Cincinnati, he went 6 innings of shutout ball, striking out 5.

Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain are both proving to be great acquisitions. Both acquired in the offseason, Yelich is hitting .322/.391/.577 with a .968 OPS. He has 32 home runs, 96 runs batted in, 108 runs scored and has stolen 21 bases. Not to be outdone, Cain is hitting .308/.397/.422 with a .819 OPS. He has 10 home runs, 37 runs batted in, 84 runs scored and has stolen 29 bases out of the leadoff spot. Throw in Jesus Aguilar, Ryan Braun, MikeMoustakas, and others and the Brewers have a very deep lineup.

Cardinals Looking To Secure Playoff Spot

With the Rockies right on their heels, the Cardinals know they need to win every game. They will be sending Austin Gomber to the mound to try to take care of business Tuesday. On the season, Gomber is 6-1 with a 3.63 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and opponents are hitting .265 against him.

In 69.1 innings, he has 59 strikeouts, 31 walks and has allowed 4 home runs. In his last outing, an 8-1 win over the Braves, he went 5 innings, allowing 1 earned run and striking out 5.

On the offensive side, Marcell Ozuna and Paul DeJong have been swinging a hot bat over the last month. In the last 30 days, Ozuna is hitting .274/.319/.524 with a .842 OPS. He has 7 home runs, 18 runs batted in and 16 runs scored in that time.

For DeJong, in that same time he is hitting .250/.310/.442 with a .753 OPS. He has 5 home runs, 22 runs batted in and 18 runs scored in that stretch. While they have been hitting the ball well, MattCarpenter has continued to struggle as of late. In those 30 days he is hitting .223/.351/.351 with a .702 OPS. They really need him to come through for the playoff push.

Brewers Keep It Going

I think both pitchers will keep their teams in it for about 5 or 6 innings before eventually becoming a bullpen game. This is where I struggle to pick the Cardinals. They continue to show inconsistency in the bullpen and while Josh Hader was roughed up a bit Monday night, I still like Milwaukee’s bullpen all day over the Cardinals. It will be a close matchup, but I like the Brewers to win this one late. Take them at +100.