A key showdown between the top two teams in the NL Central is set to begin tonight. After a rough post-deadline week, the Brewers got a two-game sweep of the Rays and are now a half-game behind heading into this series. A series win will put the Brewers back in the lead of the NL Central for the final push of the season. This is also a critical series as the Brewers are set to play 31 games in 31 days, with just one day off scheduled during those 31 days.
Eric Lauer is on the mound again tonight, looking to build on some recent success but also get his control worked out more. In his last start, he pitched seven innings and allowed one run in a Brewers win over the Reds. His strikeout numbers have been down, and his walk numbers are up (11 strikeouts compared to 9 walks in his last 3 starts). His 3.59 ERA is improved from a high of 4.02 on June 29, though his 4.58 FIP has only seen a slight improvement. He has allowed a team-high 20 home runs, but only allowed four in his last six starts and none in his last two.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals will start Jordan Montgomery tonight. He is making his second start since being traded to the Cardinals from the Yankees at the deadline. In his first start with the Cardinals, he pitched five scoreless innings. Overall this season, he has a 3.53 ERA and 3.89 FIP. He’s also posted a 7.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, and 1.2 HR/9 in 22 starts this season.
Here are the lineups for Game 1 of the series: