St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers Preview

St. Louis Cardinals (73-82) +120, o/u 8 at Milwaukee Brewers (79-76), 8 pm Eastern Monday
by Zman of

The Milwaukee Brewers look to keep their playoff hopes alive when they begin a three-game series with the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals Monday night at Miller Park.

Milwaukee just finished a 3-4 road trip by blowing a 4-1 seventh-inning lead and losing to the Braves in Atlanta on Sunday. So the Brewers now trail the division-leading Chicago Cubs by 3 games in the National League’s Central Division with one week to play.

St. Louis just split four games with the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium over the weekend, but has won only four of its last 18 games.

The Cardinals are 8-16 this month, and haven’t had a day off since Aug. 27. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is 12-9 this September.

St. Louis is also 30-44 on the road this season, while the Brewers are an NL-best 47-27 at home.

The Cardinals have fallen out of the playoff race entirely with their recent swoon. And Milwaukee needs to catch the Cubs in the Central if they want to play into October, because they trail the San Diego Padres by six games in the NL wild-card race.

St. Louis has won the last six meetings with the Brewers, and leads the season series seven games to five. Also, the o/u is 7-5 in this series this season.

The Cardinals will send Adam Wainwright (13-11, 3.60) to the hill for Monday’s series opener against Dave Bush (11-10, 5.20) for Milwaukee.

In his first season as a full-time starter, Wainwright has been solid. He owns a string of eight straight starts of allowing two or fewer ER, and has given up five ER and 23 baserunners (hits + walks) in his last 21 IP. St. Louis is 18-12 in Wainwright’s starts this year, the o/u 10-16.

Wainwright has started once in his ML career vs. the Brewers, shutting them out over seven innings of work in an 8-0 Cardinals win in Milwaukee five weeks ago.

Bush has been brutal lately, giving up 13 ER and 20 baserunners in his last 11 IP. The Brewers are 12-17 in Bush’s starts this year, the o/u 15-13.

Bush has started three games vs. St. Louis over the last two seasons, and has been clipped for 17 ER and 27 baserunners in 17 innings of work. The Brewers lost all three of those games.

The Cardinals own a .337 team OBP this season, which ranks 12th-best in the league, and are averaging 4.5 runs per game. But slugger Albert Pujols is listed as questionable for Monday’s game with a sore calf.

Milwaukee ranks 21st in the league with its .329 team OBP, and is averaging 4.9 RPG. The Brewers also lead the majors with 219 home runs.

Both bullpens have been terrible recently. The St. Louis, thanks in large part to a debacle vs. Houston the other night, has given up 20 ER and 39 baserunners over its last 15 2/3 IP.

The Brewers pen has allowed 11 ER and 30 baserunners over its last 14 1/3 IP, and lost two games in Atlanta over the weekend.

The o/u is 69-75 in Cardinals games this season, 79-68 in Milwaukee games, and 42-30 at Miller Park, where games are averaging 9.5 runs per this year.