The first road series of the 2016 season begins in enemy territory. The Milwaukee Brewers face off against the St. Louis Cardinals in their home opener. As a result, two of the three games will be during the day which means a ton of us aren't going to get to watch! Those dastardly Cardinals will stop at nothing to deprive us hard working Brewers fans of the baseball we love so much! The monsters.
Normally we'd be talking about the Cardinals as the division favorites. But this year it's a three team race at best for them. And at worst they're simply outclassed by the Chicago Cubs like every other team in baseball. That doesn't mean they won't head to the postseason. But the chances grow slimmer if they have to win a Wild Card. There are several teams in the NL, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, that look competent enough to make a push for one of the two wild cards. And unfortunately for the Cardinals they're suffered some pretty significant injuries.
They lost Lance Lynn for the entire season to Tommy John surgery. They also lost starting shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a thumb injury. He should return this year, but perhaps not until June or later. To help bridge the gap, they signed Ruben Tejada. But he too was injured and is currently on the disabled list. He should return sometime in April though. There are a handful of minor injuries that they're dealing with as well.
All this adds up to a pretty mediocre start for a team that's supposed to be built to win. They enter this series tied with the Brewers 3-3. We're pretty happy to see the Milwaukee 9 doing so well, but that's from the perspective of a rebuilding team. And that's why I'm really hoping the Brewers can take 2 out of 3 in St. Louis. You just know it'll drive their fan base nuts! And it's hard to find anything more fun than that.
The Cardinals have played three game sets against the Pirates followed by the Braves. They were swept by the former and took their aggression out on Atlanta with a sweep of their own. The bats started to come alive in their second season series as they scored 35 runs! For comparison they only scored 7 runs against Pittsburgh. With Milwaukee coming to town, it's a bad time for those bats to start working...
Despite being 36, left fielder Matt Holliday can still hit the ball quite well. Matt Carpenter is one of the better hitting third baseman in the National League. Randal Grichuck had an excellent rookie season last year and looks to build upon it. The same could be said about Stephen Piscotty, albeit with a slightly smaller sample size.
Yadier Molina and Brandon Moss both struggled to hit effectively last year. Molina is coming off of thumb surgery. Jedd Gyorko hasn't hit well since his rookie campaign in 2013. And Kolten Wong is about league average. Still each of these hitters has the potential to go on a tear at any moment.
The Cardinals don't look to be very threatening after their top five hitters, but they could still be very dangerous. The Brewers pitchers will be put to the test yet again. But so far they've fared reasonably well. And Busch Stadium is much more pitcher friendly than Miller Park. So this could be a really interesting pitching series.
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Brandon Moss
2B: Kolten Wong
3B: Matt Carpenter
SS: Jedd Gyorko
LF: Matt Holliday
CF: Randal Grichuk
RF: Stephen Piscotty
RHP Adam Wainwright
RHP Michael Wacha
RHP Mike Leake
LHP Jaime Garcia
RHP Carlos Martinez
High Leverage Relievers
RHP Trevor Rosenthal (CL)
RHP Seung Hwan Oh
LHP Kevin Siegrist
Monday, April 11 - 3:15 pm CT: Taylor Jungman vs Michael Wacha
Tuesday, April 12 - OFF DAY
Wednesday, April 13 - 7:15 pm CT: Chase Anderson vs Mike Leake
Thursday, April 14 - 12:45 pm CT: Wily Peralta vs Jaime Garcia