The Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals open an important three-game series at Busch Stadium on Monday night. The Cardinals are tied with the Cubs for first place in the National League Central, while the Brewers sit two games back. The Cardinals won over the Reds on Sunday 5-4 behind another strong outing from Jack Flaherty, who gave up only one run in five innings. Paul Goldschmidt hit his 28th homer of the season, and Tommy Edman hit his fifth.
The Brewers lost to the Nationals 16-8 after winning a 15-inning thriller Saturday night 15-14 in 14 innings. Milwaukee pitchers gave up eight homers on Sunday, but the Brewers did manage to hit four themselves, including a two-homer game from Mike Moustakas, who now has 30 on the season.
The Brewers will send Zach Davies (8-5, 3.74 ERA) to the mound to face Dakota Hudson (11-6, 3.82 ERA). Davies will be making his return from the IL, where he has been out with back stiffness since Aug. 2. Hudson threw six shutout innings against the Royals in his last outing.
St. Louis is the favorite at -130, and the over/under is 9.5.
Brewers Looking For 2018 Magic
The Brewers are looking to repeat their end to the season from last year. They were five games behind Chicago before going on an absolute tear and then winning a one-game playoff to win the division. This year they will have to leapfrog both the Cubs and the Cardinals if they want another NL Central crown. The Brewers currently sit at 64-60 and are 28-34 on the road.
Davies’ second half has been one to forget. He has a WHIP of 1.46 and an ERA of 6.23 after leading the NL in ERA for a portion of the first half. The Brewers are hoping some mechanical changes will help relieve some of the pressure on the lower back and get Davies back to his early-season form. He is 2-2 with a 4.64 ERA in nine career starts against the Cardinals.
Milwaukee hitters have enjoyed seeing Hudson on the mound. They have an OPS of .893 in 43 plate appearances. Moustakas, who had a big game yesterday, has an OPS of 2.964 and is 3 for 4 with two homers. Christian Yelich, who has returned to form after his time out with back issues, also has two homers off of Hudson in five at-bats.
The Brewers have Brandon Woodruff and Jhoulys Chacin on the IL, and Lorenzo Cain is listed as day-to-day.
Cardinals Want Lead All To Themselves
With a win tonight, the Cardinals could gain a half-game lead over the Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals have a record of 65-57 and are 34-23 at home. The Cardinals have won seven of their last nine games.
Hudson, like Davies, has struggled since the All-Star break. He has a WHIP of 1.63 and an ERA of 4.23 but has managed a winning record at 4-2. Hudson’s problem has been control, as he has walked 18 in only 35 innings over that span. He is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in two career starts against Milwaukee this season, and 0-1 with a 7.15 ERA in five appearances overall.
The Cardinals have had pretty good success against Davies. They have an OPS of .853 in 134 plate appearances. Matt Carpenter leads the way with an OPS of 1.536, as he is 11 for 24 with four doubles and three home runs. Goldschmidt also has an OPS above 1.000 and is 4 for 9.
St. Louis has Tyler O’Neill, Jose Martinez and Drew Robinson on the IL, and Austin Gomber is listed as day-to-day.
The Brewers offense has been on a tear of late, but the problem has been their pitching. They are hoping a return from Davies can help right the ship for a team that has lost four of six. This pitching matchup is hard to read, as both have struggled in the second half but are having good seasons overall. Neither has pitched well against their opponent in the past, and I don’t see that changing tonight. The Brewers are 31-18 as underdogs, and the Cardinals are 29-35 as favorites. I’m riding with the Brewers at +120.