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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals have a new bat in the lineup, but do they have the pitching to make a run for the NL Central?

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

After taking 2 of 3 in Chicago for their first series win of the 2021 season, the Milwaukee Brewers now head to St. Louis to Face The Cardinals for their first meeting of the new year.

The Cardinals come into this weekend with a record of 4-2, having just swept the Miami Marlins in south Florida to bounce back from a season-opening series loss to the Cincinnati Reds. After giving up a bunch of runs to the Reds on Opening Weekend, the Cardinals held the Marlins to 3 total runs over their three-game series, including throwing a 7-0 shutout yesterday afternoon to complete the sweep.

The Lineup

The focus here naturally goes to Nolan Arenado, who the Cardinals basically got for free this winter (that’s actually inaccurate — they were paid to take him, like some politician joke about Kohl’s Cash). There are some doubts about how Arenado will do in his first full season away from Coors Field, but between Larry Walker and Matt Holliday, the Cardinals have a pretty solid history of taking former Colorado Rockies stars and getting something good out of them.

Arenado’s gone 9-for-25 in his first 6 games in red and white, with a double and a home run while currently leading the Cardinals in total bases. Infamous Brewer Killer Paul Goldschmidt has also had a solid start at 8-for-26, although he has yet to hit a home run. Knowing his history, that’ll probably change sometime in the next few games.

The new name to know this year, though, is rookie Dylan Carlson, who may end up on some Rookie of the Year ballots at the end of the year. Despite the big names like Arenado and Goldschmidt, it’s Carlson that leads the Cards in home runs and RBI through the first 6 games, and he’s one behind Arenado for the lead in total bases.

The Probable Pitchers

Adam Wainwright will pitch in the Cardinals’ home opener for the sixth time in his career, and while the 39-year-old was roughed up for 6 runs over 2.2 innings in his first start of the year against Cincinnati, we all know his track record when facing the Brewers. He’ll go toe-to-toe with Corbin Burnes, whose first career start was against the Cardinals back in 2019.

Another familiar foe, Carlos Martinez, will take the ball in the second game against Adrian Houser. He allowed 4 runs over 5 innings in his first start against the Reds.

Daniel Ponce de Leon will pitch in the series finale on Sunday, facing off against Brett Anderson. He did his best Freddy Peralta impression in his first start on Monday, throwing almost 90% fastballs in the Cardinals’ win, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits over 5 innings (although he also hit 2 batters). Ponce de Leon is capable of big strikeout numbers — he struck out 12.4 batters per 9 innings in last year’s COVID season — but also struggles with command.