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Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers

Here we go again.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

If the first series between these two teams was any indication, the Cardinals might be the most evenly matched team the Brewers face this year.

So far, the numbers bear that out. Both teams have scored 78 runs in the season’s first few weeks. The Brewers have hit 27 home runs, and the Cardinals have hit 24, ranking 2nd and 5th in the National League, respectively. The Brewers have a team OPS of .786. The Cardinals have a team OPS of .773. In the first four games they went head-to-head, the Brewers scored 19 runs, and the Cardinals scored 19 runs.

That means we’re likely in store for three more tense, high-stress games that come down to the end. Two of the Brewers’ 5 one-run wins came against the Cardinals in that first series of the year, and it seems like we’re in for at least another one-run game at some point this week.

There’s also a good chance we’ll be good and sick of the Cardinals by Wednesday -- with another series scheduled for this time next week. These will be games 5, 6 and 7 of a quite-simply-ridiculous 10 meetings in the season’s first month. Since losing 3 of their first 4 to the Brewers, the Cardinals have been on fire, winning 8 of 11, including sweeping the Dodgers in four straight games, effectively shutting down the best offense in the NL with ease.

Probable Pitchers

Monday, April 15th - 6:40 p.m. CDT
Dakota Hudson vs. Freddy Peralta

The Brewers tagged Hudson for 4 runs (3 earned) over 4.1 innings on the strength of 3 home runs in his first career start on March 30th. He hasn’t allowed a run since, including holding the Dodgers scoreless for 4.2 innings despite giving up 6 hits and 4 walks in his last start.

Tuesday, April 15th - 6:40 p.m. CDT
Jack Flaherty vs. Brandon Woodruff

Flaherty was likewise hit hard by the Brewers in their first meeting of 2019, allowing 4 earned runs on 7 hits and a walk in 4.1 innings on March 29th, but responded by throwing 5 shutout innings against a stronger-than-expected Padres offense and holding the Dodgers to 1 run on 3 hits over 6 innings, while striking out 8.

Wednesday, April 16th - 12:40 p.m. CDT
Michael Wacha vs. Corbin Burnes

Wacha’s had the inverse luck, holding the Brewers to 1 run over 6 innings on March 31st before walking 8 batters in 5.2 innings against San Diego on April 6th (yet somehow only allowing 1 run), and giving up 7 runs in 3.2 innings against Los Angeles in his last start. He’s allowed 4 home runs and 13 walks in his first 15.1 innings this season.

Previous Meeting

It took a bunch of one-run wins, but the Brewers took 3 of 4 from the Cardinals when they met in the first series of the 2019 season, capped off by a walkoff RBI double by Christian Yelich in the series finale. The Brewers are undefeated against the Cardinals when Paul Goldschmidt doesn’t homer three times in the same game.

Player to Watch

Goldschmidt continued his long history of tormenting the Brewers by going 6-for-16 with 4 home runs and 3 walks in the season’s first series, with 3 of those home runs coming in the same game. Since then, he’s gone just 6-of-43, although 3 of those hits were for extra bases (2 home runs and a double) and he has walked 8 times. That’s a line of just .140/.275/.302 against non-Brewers opponents to start the year, although he did show signs of breaking out of that first mini-slump by going 3-for-9 in his last two games against Cincinnati. The Cardinals’ lineup is still scary deep even with Goldschmidt struggling, but the Brewers would definitely take some regression to his career numbers against them over the next few days.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference