Milwaukee Brewers (3-3) @ St Louis Cardinals (4-2)
After this season’s first road series against a NL Central rival, the Brewers are diving right back in for seconds this weekend when they take on the Cardinals in St Louis. Both teams have some momentum after losing two of three in their opening series. The Brewers took the last two from the Cubs in Wrigley while the Cardinals closed a sweep of the Marlins with a 7-0 shutout. The first game is tonight (Thursday), and we get a day off before the series closes on Saturday and Sunday. This should be a good luck at the two teams most had – and theoretically still have – at the top of the NL Central heading into the season, and the winner will be able to claim a decent amount of momentum as we keep inching forward in this 162-game marathon.
The first thing to look at is pitching match-ups. Who’s likely taking the mound in this series, and how have those guys performed against the hitters they’ll face here? All data below is from Swish Analytics, and I have some basic notes on each pitcher and what they might be facing here.
One thing you’ll notice is that Orlando Arcia is still included here. I figure we might as well leave him in – partially because the data still has him with the Brewers but also as a sign of what we might have missed in this series by trading him a few days ago.
The other quick note I’ll make here: Matt Carpenter has obviously been a prominent player for the Cardinals in the past, but his lengthy slump has seen him relegated to a bench role. He’s only gotten six at-bats in six games so far this year. It’ll be interesting to see if that changes in this series given some of the history.
Game 1: Thursday, 3:15 Central
Projected Brewers pitcher: Corbin Burnes
Cardinals v. Burnes:
Summary: Goldschmidt, DeJong, and Carpenter are high on Ks and big hits against Burnes, no one else has done anything noticeable
Goldschmidt, DeJong, and Carpenter
- All over Burnes with 12 hits in 31 at-bats
- 5 home runs in 31 at-bats is ridiculous
- Interesting: 13 of 19 outs have been strikeouts.
- 18 of 31 at-bats HRs or SOs. Really feast or famine here
Tommy Edman and Yadier Molina
- Only others with more than a game’s worth of at-bats against Burnes
- Have been relatively harmless, though Edman has shown a strong ability to walk against Burnes
- 2 strikeouts, 1 single. Not much to take away but definitely didn’t kill Burnes. I’m guessing these at-bats came back in the 2018 playoffs, so who knows if they’re relevant now.
- 1 homer in 2 chances
- Nothing doing in limited looks
Projected Cardinals pitcher: Adam Wainwright
Brewers v. Wainwright:
Summary: Lots of hitting success but very little power (1 HR per 52 at-bats, 1 2B per 11.5 or so at-bats, only the 1 3B)
Arcia and Yelich
- Lots of looks (20+) and lots of results
- Both have walked at least 12.5% of the time
- Both have hits in at least 35% of their at-bats
- Notable: 0 homers despite the success
- Arcia doubling in 16.7% of his at-bats against Wainwright
- Yeli largely limited to singles (5 of 6 hits)
- Hitting but not hitting for power
- Lots of looks and slightly less results
- .286 average still very solid
- No homers or walks but double/triple in about 14% of plate appearances (3 total)
Yelich and Cain Ks against Wainwright very rare
- Solid in limited looks (5-13)
- All hits – 3 for Garcia and 2 for Omar – are singles
- Narvaez also has the walk
- Put ball in-play or walked 13 of 14 times
Yelich, Arcia, Cain, Garcia, Narvaez – 42% combined OBP, just a 9.9% strikeout rate. These are the four to watch with Arica gone.
- Single, Double, Homer in 11 plate appearances
- 2 Ks of course
- Potential bounce back game for him?
- Likely won’t play with Narvaez having this match-up but 1 single in 2 chances
Shaw, Vogelbach, Bradley Jr
- Don’t expect to see these guys playing much of a role. Would not be a surprise to see Robertson starting for Shaw in this one.
- Bradley Jr just 0-3 with a K
- Shaw and Vogelbach have 8 Ks in only 18 plate appearances (that’s the same number that group of 5 from before has in 81 plate appearances)
- Vogelbach’s 1 hit was a homer so pinch-hitting shot very possible
Game 2: Saturday, 1:15 Central
Projected Brewers pitcher: Adrian Houser
Cardinals v. Houser:
Summary: Limited action but that same trio has been dangerous
Goldschmidt, DeJong, and Carpenter
- Goldschmidt the big one with 2 homers and 2 singles in only 11 plate appearances
- DeJong not too much damage, but still 3 hits in 9 chances
- Carpenter with 2 singles and a walk in 7 chances
- 7 Ks in just 27 total plate appearances so that theme of going down hard when they go down follows here
- Just not very good
- 2 Ks, just 3 hits/walks in 11 chances
- 1 homer and 1 double however, so that clutch hit is very possible
- Just a single and a walk in 6 chances
Edman & Carlson
- Only 3 and 1 plate appearances
- No Ks but four outs in four tries for Houser
Projected Cardinals pitcher: Carlos Martinez
Brewers v. Martinez:
Summary: Experience limited to four guys, but those four have done well
- Tons of success
- Two singles, two doubles, and a homer in just 10 at-bats
- Three walks
- That’s 8/14 reaching base, 13/14 didn’t end in a strikeout
Yelich and Cain
- Lots of hits (nine in twenty-five at-bats) but all singles
- Yelich has walked three times but struck out four
- Cain with less of both (one each)
- A bit more variety but still good success
- Three singles, double, homer, two walks in nineteen chances
- Two Ks
- Has been terrible against Martinez, so we won’t be missing him here
- A single and a walk in three chances so not a full guarantee that Pina starts
- 0-1, the only other Brewer to have seen Martinez
Game 3: Sunday, 1:15 Central
Projected Brewers pitcher: Brett Anderson
Cardinals v. Anderson:
Summary: Not good to see what Goldschmidt and Arenado have done here
- Murders Anderson
- 10 hits in 18 at-bats, which includes 2 homers
- 4 walks
- That’s a 63.6% OBP
- Just 1 K
- 2 homers as well
- 4 singles outside of that with the 1 walk for a 43.8% OBP
- Just 1 K here too
Molina and Carpenter
- 2 singles and a walk in 20 tries
- Only 3 Ks but just not effective at getting on-base
- 2-3 with a triple
- 2 singles in only four tries
- Limited at-bats, nothing notable
Projected Cardinals pitcher: Daniel Ponce de Leon
Brewers v. Ponce de Leon:
Summary: Very few looks, very little success outside of Arcia, Vogelbach
- 2 homers in just four looks
- Might be missing him in this one
- 2 singles and a walk in just six looks
- Did strike out 2 times too
- 3 walks in nine chances
- Also 3 Ks and 0 hits
- 1 K, 1 single in six chances
Shaw and Hiura
- 6 Ks in eight chances
No one else (including Shaw, Hiura, Yelich) has a hit in limited looks. Nottingham (irrelevant here) with 2 walks
Now that we have a decent idea of the match-ups that we’ll be seeing here, I have some players to watch for both teams in this series.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Goldschmidt – Great player obviously and great success against every pitcher here. Expect a massive series from him.
- De Jong – .333 BA against Burnes and Houser, limited looks at Anderson. He’s a guy who could have some success here.
- Carpenter – Has done very well against Burnes and Houser, might be set up for some extra looks in this one. Carpenter is guaranteed some at-bats regardless, but I would expect him to start against Burnes. He’s been good against him.
- Arenado – Another great player. Has traditionally killed Anderson, and the limited experience against the first two doesn’t mean he won’t show up here. He’s someone to watch right alongside Goldschmidt.
- Molina – Very little success against these three but seems to always have the hit when Cards need it against Crew. Although he’s struggled against Burnes and the rest, don’t count him out.
- Wainwright – Can he limit Brewers again by keeping their damage to singles? He’s got a tough draw here with Burnes but will feed on the Busch Stadium crowd.
- Ponce de Leon – Can he maintain past success with more looks against the Brewers?
- Gallegos – The reliever has 7 Ks in four innings of work so far, and he has yet to give up a run. He might factor into some of these games late.
- Reyes and Hicks – This is cheating, but these are the two guys that have some claim to the closer role right now. They’ve both avoided any earned runs in roughly 3 innings each so far. Can the Brewers jump on either in a close game?
- Yelich – Lots of walks, not too many hits after Wainwright. Can he build on what was a great close to the Cubs series?
- Shaw – Shaw has done well against Martinez but has a pretty brutal track record against the other two. If he’s going to start the easy majority of games for us this year like the Arcia trade suggests, he’s going to need to be playable in some of these “bad match-up” situations
- Cain – The offensive hero of the last game of the Cubs series has a good match-up against Wainwright. Hopefully he can build on this momentum.
- Hiura – These pitchers are not the greatest for him if you’re looking for good match-ups to break out against. He’s still arguably the most important guy to watch given how much a return to form would mean for this offense
- Narvaez and Garcia – Another combo here. Can these two jump on Wainwright in a historically favorable match-up and gain some early momentum?
- Burnes – He’s got some danger spots here. Can he maintain CY Young form?
- Anderson – The numbers don’t look good. Despite that, can he provide a quality start?
- Urias – The Brewers are committed. Can he show some signs of offensive life to support that decision?
- Arcia – An honorary shout-out. Unfortunately, he had some very good numbers against these guys. He will be missed (even though I didn’t hate the trade).
I’m taking the Brewers to win this series 2-1. I think Burnes has the edge in his start, and I trust the Brewers’ bullpen a little bit more. Neither team has been great offensively, but the Brewers have been better defensively after the Cardinals really struggled to keep the Reds in check. I can see a low-scoring series happening here, and the Brewers just proved they’re up to the task in that type of challenge. Containing Goldschmidt and Arenado in their home ballpark will be the key.
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