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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ St. Louis Cardinals

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Your NL Central champions begin to play out the string

New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

No matter what happens this week, remember the Milwaukee Brewers are the 2021 National League Central Division champions.

What happened between the Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals last week doesn’t matter.

What happens this week between the Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals doesn’t matter.

The Brewers are division champions and will successfully dodge the randomness of the NL Wildcard play-in game. With the top seed in the NL out of reach, they have nothing else to play for, other than getting themselves in a position to feel good heading into October.

The Cardinals may also have nothing to play for soon — they’ll clinch their spot in the playoffs with their next win or losses by the Reds and Phillies, as their magic number for WC2 is now just 1. They still haven’t lost since the last time we saw them, as they’ve now run their streak to 16 games.

The Lineup

A lot of the guys who killed the Brewers last week are still hot. Harrison Bader, specifically, has been playing out of his mind in the last week, going 14-for-26 with 4 doubles, 3 home runs and 10 runs scored in the Cardinals’ last 7 games. Bader is someone who has always been streaky, but lately he’s gone supernova. His speed specifically makes him annoying and dangerous when he’s going this well.

Paul Goldschmidt continued his long history of killing the Brewers last week, but also kept that hot streak going over the weekend against the Cubs. In his last 7 games, he’s now gone 12-for-28 with 5 home runs and 2 doubles, driving in 10. He’s now collected 34 doubles and 31 home runs on the year and is 2 runs driven in from the nice round number of 100.

The Probable Pitchers

Tuesday, 6:45 p.m. CDT - Brandon Woodruff vs. Adam Wainwright

One of the more frustrating things about last week’s series was the fact the Brewers actually got to Wainwright, but couldn’t make it stick, as the Cardinals scored 7 runs in the final three innings of the series finale to complete the sweep — even after the Brewers tagged Waino for 5 runs in just 4 innings in one of his worst starts of the year. They’ll get another chance tonight, but it won’t be easy — Wainwright hasn’t allowed 3+ earned runs in back-to-back starts since July 16, and that had the added caveat of the long All-Star break layoff between that start and his previous one. He’s also been especially tough in the run-suppressing environment of Busch Stadium, with a 2.72 ERA in 18 home starts this year, compared to his 3.58 ERA in 13 road starts.

Wednesday, 6:45 p.m. CDT - Adrian Houser vs. Miles Mikolas

Mikolas didn’t miss many bats in last week’s start against the Brewers — he only struck out 3 over 7 innings last Wednesday — but he only allowed 2 runs once the game was already well out of reach, as the Cardinals were already up 7-0 by the time he allowed his first run in the bottom of the 5th inning. While he’s missed a ton of time this year, he’s still done a good job of limiting hard contact — as we saw last week.

Thursday, 12:15 p.m. CDT - TBD vs. TBD

This matchup is exceedingly unlikely to matter much, as both teams will likely have clinched all they can at this point and will just try to set up their pitching for the playoffs as best they can.

Statistics courtesy Fangraphs and Statcast