In 2022, the Brewers held their own against the Cardinals, going 9-10 across the season series, including a 5-5 split at American Family Field. Milwaukee will look to improve on that performance as the season series kicks off this weekend, with the Brewers trying to maintain the momentum of a five-game win streak, including a sweep of the Mets. The Cardinals are coming off a sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves, falling to 2-4 on the season and into last place in the NL Central.
Offensively, the Cardinals look pretty similar to their 2022 team, with the notable change of Willson Contreras replacing Yadier Molina behind the plate. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado still man the corner infield, while Brendan Donovan, Nolan Gorman, and Tommy Edman have most of the middle infield duties. In the outfield, a combination of Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson, Lars Nootbaar, and rookie phenom Jordan Walker have had most of the playing time, although Nootbaar won’t play this weekend after being placed on the IL.
On Milwaukee’s side, the rookies have carried much of the load to this point. Garrett Mitchell and Brian Anderson are tied for the team lead with three homers apiece, while Rowdy Tellez, Brice Turang, and Joey Wiemer each have a homer of their own. Willy Adames, William Contreras, Jesse Winker, and Christian Yelich are still looking for their first homers of the year, but Winker has been highly productive, driving in seven on six hits.
This will mark the first matchup of the Contreras brothers since William joined the Brewers and Willson jumped to the Cardinals from the Cubs.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday, April 7 @ 7:10 p.m.: Jack Flaherty vs. Brandon Woodruff
Flaherty had a strong start to his season, going five scoreless innings in a win over the Blue Jays on Saturday. He allowed no hits, but struggled with his command, walking seven and hitting one batter while striking out just four on 95 pitches (49 balls, 46 strikes). He’s had a mixed bag against the Brewers, although it’s mostly negative, with a career 5.00 ERA across 16 games (15 starts).
On the other side, Woodruff is also coming off a strong start, allowing one run in a no decision during the Brewers 3-1 win over the Cubs on Saturday. He walked one and allowed three hits while striking out eight. In 13 appearances (11 starts) against the Cards, Woodruff has a career 2.74 ERA, going 5-4 with 73 strikeouts across 65 2⁄3 innings.
Saturday, April 8 @ 6:10 p.m.: Jordan Montgomery vs. Eric Lauer
Montgomery earned the series win for the Cardinals on Sunday against the Blue Jays, pitching five innings and allowing three runs on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts. The former Yankee has made three starts against the Brewers, going 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA across 15 1⁄3 innings.
After a poor beginning to his start on Sunday, Lauer settled down enough to help guide Milwaukee to a series win against the Cubs. He ended the day going 5 1⁄3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks with six punchouts to earn the win. He’s made seven appearances (six starts) against St. Louis, with a 6.46 ERA across 30 2⁄3 innings.
Sunday, April 9 @ 1:10 p.m.: Jake Woodford vs. Freddy Peralta
The Easter Sunday matchup will feature Woodford and Peralta. Woodford had a rough start to begin his season on Monday, going 4 1⁄3 innings and allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks in a loss to the Braves. In seven appearances (one start) against the Brewers, Woodford has a 3.00 ERA across 18 innings.
Peralta had a strong start in the 10-0 home-opening win over the Mets on Monday, going six innings and striking out seven while allowing just two hits and three walks. In 12 appearances (8 starts) against the Cardinals, he has a 6.59 ERA with a 2-4 record across 41 innings.
The Cardinals bullpen has several new names this season and a few familiar ones in Jordan Hicks and Ryan Helsley. Hicks has a 13.50 ERA across 3 1⁄3 innings (five earned runs) while Helsley has a 6.75 ERA across 2 2⁄3 innings (two earned runs), going 1-for-2 in save opportunities. Packy Naughton, Andre Pallante, and Drew VerHagen have combined for nine appearances (11 innings) and allowed just one total earned run. Chris Stratton, Zack Thompson, and Giovanny Gallegos have also made appearances this season.
Considered a concern entering the season, the Brewers bullpen has looked pretty strong thus far. Peter Strzelecki, Hoby Milner, Matt Bush, Gus Varland, Bryse Wilson, and Devin Williams have combined for 16 1⁄3 scoreless innings, while Javy Guerra and Joey Payamps are the only two pitchers to allow runs out of the pen, totaling just three earned runs across 20 1⁄3 total bullpen innings in six games.
Considering the Brewers successful week and the Cardinals disappointing week, I’ll go with the momentum and pick the Brewers to take two out of three. While both offenses have been able to score runs (Brewers have 38, Cardinals have 29), Milwaukee’s pitching is what sets them apart. The Brewers have a 2.72 team ERA compared to St. Louis’ 5.33 team ERA, and we’ve already seen what Milwaukee can do against strong opposing pitchers in Max Scherzer and Jameson Taillon this week.