Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals Preview and Pick – Gallardo vs. Lohse

Milwaukee Brewers (21-14) Yovani Gallardo -107, 8.5 O/U at St.
Louis Cardinals (21-14) Kyle Lohse -103, 8.5 O/U, Busch Stadium,
St. Louis, Mo., 8:15 PM EST, Friday

by Badger of

First-place in the National League Central will be up for grabs when
the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals start a three-game
series Friday night at Busch Stadium. The showdown will get off to a
rocking start with what looks like a fantastic pitching matchup
between the Brewers young ace Yovani Gallardo and Cardinals right-
hander Kyle Lohse.

The Brewers come into the series as the hottest team in baseball, winning 17 of their last 22 games for the best record in the Major
Leagues since April 22nd. The Brewers completed a three-game sweep of
the Florida Marlins on Thursday with a 5-3 victory as pitcher Dave
Bush had another quality, Prince Fielder hit his third homerun of the
series and closer Trevor Hoffman notched his 8th save in as many

St. Louis managed to salvage the final game of their three-game set
with Pittsburgh on Thursday, taking the finale by a 5-1 score. It was
just the second win for the Cards in their last six games overall, as
they have basically given back their great start to the season and
allowed the Brewers to climb back into a tie for first in the NL

Baseball oddsmakers seem to think the pitching matchup tonight is a
good one too, as the game is as close to a pick-em as it gets in
baseball with Gallardo and the Brewers as slim -107 favorites on the
moneyline and St. Louis and Lohse as underdogs at -103 on the
dimeline. The over/under is listed at 8.5 across the board at all of
the offshore sportsbooks on the Internet.

If tonights contest goes anything like their last few starts, then Gallardo and the Brewers will have a huge advantage over Lohse and the Cards.

Gallardo (4-1, 3.09 ERA, 1.05 WHIP on the season) has been stellar in his last three starts, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and allowing just
five runs in 20 innings pitched. The Crew has won all three of those
games, including his last one on Saturday when they beat the Cubs, 12-6.

Lohse (3-2, 4.25, 1.28) on the other hand has been knocked around a
bit in his last two outings, giving up 13 runs on 15 hits and 5 walks
in just 10 innings of work. Last Saturday was his worst start as a
Cardinal probably, as he gave up a season-high seven runs on nine
hits and three walks in an 8-3 loss to Cincinnati.

The Cardinals are hoping for the Lohse of old to reemerge tonight, as
he does sport solid career numbers versus the Brewers going 3-3 in
seven starts with a 5.06 ERA and a .290 opponents batting average.
However, those career numbers are deceiving a little as the Brewers
did manage to beat him all three times he faced them last season.

Gallardo missed all but a few games with a knee injury last year, so
he hasnt faced the Cards much in his young career. In fact, you have
to go back to 2007 when Gallardo made two starts against the Cards,
getting rocked in both to the tune of an 0-1 record and an out-of-
character 9.28 ERA and .347 opponents on-base percentage.

Not only have the Brewers been getting great starting pitching during
their run up the standings (21 quality starts leads MLB), but their
offense has turned up the heat a notch or two. Theyve scored 124
runs in the last 22 games (5.6 ave.) and lead the NL in homeruns (47)
and are 8th overall in OPS with a .789 mark.

But the Cards also feature a potent offensive attack, and their 40
homeruns and .780 OPS are only slightly behind the Brewers overall.

The usual suspects will be worth watching in the batters box
tonight, as the Cards Albert Pujols is 2-for-6 with a homeruns versus
Gallardo in his career. Yadier Molina has also had some success (1-
for-3, 2B) albeit a small sample. Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is 4-
for-10 with a double off of Lohse in his career, and look for utility
infielder Craig Counsell to get a start tonight as he is 8-for-16
with a homer of Lohse as well.

The Brewers have owned the head-to-head series with the Cards of
late, going 7-1 in their last eight meetings and winning 10 of their
15 meetings in 2008. The Brewers went 6-3 at Busch Stadium last season.

The under has also been a solid bet of late, as it was 6-2-1 in the
nine games at Busch last season including four of the last six.

Badgers Pick: I’m taking the over of 8.5 as both offenses bust out the sticks tonight. Take the over of 8.5.