The Brewers head back on the road after salvaging the series finale against the Atlanta Braves to end the month of April, ending the season's first month at .500.
The first road trip of the year played a big role in getting the team back to 13-13 after a disappointing season-opening homestand, going 6-3 against Toronto, Cincinnati and Chicago during that stretch. Now they head out for a quick 7-game stretch against two other division opponents in St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
The Cardinals have had a couple of games rained out since we saw them last, but like the Brewers, have continued to dig themselves out of an early-season hole. After starting the year 3-9, they're now also back at .500, starting May at 12-12. Their overall offensive numbers still aren't intimidating, but they've started to score more consistently -- including 21 runs over a three-game winning streak last week.
The Brewers hosted St. Louis for a four-game weekend set starting on April 20th, and roughed up the Cardinals in the opener, hitting three home runs. The rest of the weekend, well, did not go well. St. Louis took the next three games with relative ease and an embarrassing amount of pitcher offense. Whether it was more embarrassing for the Brewers to give up that many hits to pitchers or for the Cardinals that their pitchers hit better than everyone else in their lineup is up for debate.
Monday, 7:15 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Zach Davies vs. Michael Wacha
Wacha was the one Cardinals pitcher the Brewers missed in their first meeting with the Redbirds, and that might be a good thing. Now in his fourth season, the former first round pick had a solid April, posting four straight quality starts on his way to a 2.55 ERA/3.59 FIP. The Cardinals have kept his pitch count low, with his high count being 101 in his last start, and he's only gone 6 innings in 3 of his first 4 starts. Despite the limited pitch counts -- or maybe because of it -- Wacha is posting the highest strikeout rates (8.39 K/9, 23.5% K%) since his rookie season.
Tuesday, 7:15 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Wily Peralta vs. Carlos Martinez
The Brewers lit up Martinez and his Venus Williams circa-1998 hair for 5 runs on 7 hits (including 2 home runs) the last time they saw him. He rebounded a bit in his next start, striking out 8 while allowing 3 runs in 6 innings against Toronto last Thursday. The strikeout totals have been high for him in nearly every outing, but so have the walks. The Brewers worked 2 free passes against him two weeks ago, and the Blue Jays took 3. Of course, nothing will likely top the 8 (!!) walks he issued against the Yankees.
Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Chase Anderson vs. Adam Wainwright
The key here will be limiting the damage Waino can do with the bat, obviously. The Brewers should probably just pitch around him and take their chances with Dexter Fowler. Wainwright continued his career-long dominance of the Brewers the last time they faced off, giving up just 2 runs and striking out 9 in 5 innings. Apparently the Brewers and Cubs are the only teams unable to hit against Wainwright this year, because he followed that up with another mediocre start against Toronto, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits in 6.1 innings. He enters this series with a 6.12 ERA, but to be fair, his FIP stands at a much more respectable 3.34 -- probably due to the high strikeout totals.
Thursday, 12:45 p.m. CDT, Brewers Radio Network - Jimmy Nelson vs. Lance Lynn
It's just really unfair for the Cardinals to slot two Brewer killers back-to-back like this. Unlike Wainwright, Lynn comes into this series carrying a low ERA (2.45) but a high FIP (4.32), but that has a lot to do with having to face the Nationals and surrendering three home runs in that start. Since that outing, he's allowed just 2 runs in 19 innings, striking out 17 and issuing just 5 walks. The Brewers have one of those runs, so that's something, at least.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference