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Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers

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The Brewers return home from a successful road trip ready to face some devil magic.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers return home following a successful 6-3 road trip, but it's hard to shake the feeling that it could've been even better than that following two blown lead losses to the Cubs.

Now that they're back home, the Brewers face another bitter rival in the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Redbirds have had a slow start to the season, coming into the series at 6-9 overall and 1-5 on the road. However, they're walking into Miller Park after three straight victories, oddly all by the score of 2-1 over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It's safe to say offense has been an issue for the Cardinals through 15 games. Their leading hitter to this point is Stephen Piscotty, who's only 10-for-42 to start the year, with a line of .238/.347/.405. Aledmys Diaz leads their squad with 3 home runs and 13 hits, but hasn't drawn a walk yet in 57 at-bats. Marquee signing Dexter Fowler is hitting just .183/.258/.333 and Yadier Molina's OPS is barely over .600.

Maybe it's just the years of Cardinals Devil Magic conditioning, but it feels like all of those numbers are too poor to stay that way through the weekend. Luckily for the Brewers, they have three of their strongest starters to this point going this weekend.

Probable Pitchers

Thursday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Carlos Martinez vs. Zach Davies

Martinez has posted some big strikeout numbers to start the year, striking out 10 or more in 2 of his first 3 starts. The control fell apart in his last start, though, walking 8 batters even though he struck out 11. Manager Mike Matheny left him out there for 118 pitches, but Martinez was only able to go 5.1 innings in the incredibly inefficient outing. With the Brewers' propensity to strike out, another double-digit punchout game may be on the way, but the Brewers may be able to chase him early if they're patient.

Friday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Adam Wainwright vs. Wily Peralta

There comes a point in every great pitcher's career where it just starts to get a little sad. CC Sabathia hit that point in New York, Zack Greinke may be there already in Arizona, and now Wainwright might be at that point, too. At 35, he's coming off a season where he led the league in hits allowed (220) and earned runs (102). This year, he's only managed 13.2 innings in three starts, allowing 24 hits and 11 earned runs in those outings. He's a few years removed from his last truly good season and he's clearly not the Waino of old, but he's also someone who's tormented the Brewers during his career -- in 208.1 career innings, he's carried an ERA of just 2.16 ERA, including 6 complete games and 3 shutouts.

Saturday, 6:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Lance Lynn vs. Chase Anderson

Making his return this year after missing all of 2016 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Lynn has had a solid start to this year and is coming off an outing in which he threw 7 shutout innings against the Pirates on Monday. While his FIP to this point (5.04) is nearly 2 runs higher than his ERA (3.12), that might be due to his surrendering 3 home runs in out outing against Washington on April 11th. Even though he may not quite be 100% yet, he's another one that has a long track record of stymieing Brewers bats. In 18 appearances (14 starts), Lynn has just a 2.36 ERA against Milwaukee, with 96 strikeouts in 91.1 innings -- quite a bit for a guy not known for strikeout stuff.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Mike Leake vs. Jimmy Nelson

Leake's first year with the Cardinals didn't go well, but 2017 has been a different story so far. Despite striking out just 5.91 batters per 9 innings, Leake has only allowed 2 runs and 1 walk in 21.1 innings. He had a 14.1 inning scoreless streak going until surrendering a run in his previous start. Leake also has not yet given up a home run this year. He's surrendered 17 hits in those 21.1 innings, so he hasn't been unhittable, but for whatever reason, the Reds, Nationals and Pirates had a hard time pushing runs across. Traditionally, the Brewers have hit Leake well going back to his days in Cincinnati, slashing .298/.340/.481 against him in 13 appearances.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs