Birds Eye View: Milwaukee

The Birds Eye View previews are a feature item at Cards Clubhouse. I also post them here, because they give me a free couple of posts each week.

St Louis pulls into Milwaukee for the middle series of a 10-game road trip. The Cardinals took 2 of 3 from the Brewers in May at Miller Park. This will be the second of three trips to the Badger State; the last to start on Labor Day. Mostly Well-Known Tidbit: The Brewers began life as the Seattle Pilots, moving to Milwaukee in 1970 after one season in Seattle. They are the only team to jump from the AL to the NL, a contingency not expected or planned for when baseball planned to expand again in the 1980. The motto of Wisconsin is ‘Forward’, which is one of the most ridiculous mottos in the union. Mottos should inspire, like “Live Free or Die” or “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto”. But ‘Forward’? Is it a direction? Are all the people of Wisconsin overly aggressive? Did they all move recently and this is a reminder of what to do with the mail? Yeesh.

Current Snapshot:

St Louis: 45-39, 1st place NL Central. Took 2 of 3 from Cincinnati to start the trip. They’ve won 4 of their last 5, after dropping 4 of their previous 5.

Milwaukee: 43-39. The Brewers (and the Cubs) are even in the loss column with the Cardinals, which is interesting. Dropped 2 of 3 in Chicago over the weekend. They are on the opposite trajectory of the Cardinals, having lost 4 of their last 5 after winning 4 of their previous 5. Milwaukee currently leads the season series 4-2.

Pitching Matchups:

7 July – Wainwight vs Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo threw 8 shutout innings on 25 May (vs Carpenter). He did not figure in the decision, but the Brewers won 1-0. He’s never beaten the Cardinals in 3 starts (0-1, 5.30). No one on the Cardinals has more than 10 plate appearances against this guy; of the current Cardinals Mark DeRosa has had the most success against him (2 for 6, HR, 2 RBI, 2 walks). Tyler Greene and Wainwright haven’t faced him. Pujols has also homered off him, which is like saying the sun will rise tomorrow.

Wainwright is 1-1 against the Brewers this year, but has pitched exceptionally well in both games. He lost 1-0 in St Louis and won 8-1 in Milwaukee. He’s thrown 15 innings and given up 2 ER on 10 hits, striking out 16 and walking 3. Those stats reflect his body of work against the Brewers (3-3, 2.59). Mike Cameron and Craig Counsell are the only Brewer starters hitting over .300 against him.

8 July – Wellemeyer vs Jeff Suppan (ESPN), TBD (MLB). For the purposes of the preview we’ll go with Suppan. Suppan opposed Wainwright in both of Adam’s starts. Jeff has really had his way with St Louis (7-3, 3.31) over his career. He’s also 18-11 in Miller Park. Albert (13-34 (.382), 3 RBI) enjoys hitting against him, but not as much as Chris Duncan (6-13 (.482), 2 RBI) does. Joe Thurston has enjoyed a lot of success in limited action (.750 BA).

Wellemeyer is also 1-1 against the Brewers, losing on 17 May and winning 10 days later. He’s had good success at Miller Park (1-0, 1.93 ERA in 5 appearances including 2 starts). Ryan Braun has killed him – 7 for 13 with a HR. JJ Hardy is hitting .500 against him. Although not to that extreme, Prince Fielder and the pesky Counsell also enjoy seeing him head to the mound.

9 July – Piniero vs Braden Looper (ESPN), TBD (MLB). Looper has won his last 2 starts overall, and bested St Louis 8-4 on 18 May. He’s dominated the Cardinals in his career (2-0, 0.93 in 17 appearances), but that 18 May start is the only one he’s made against them. His Miller Park numbers are quite pedestrian (4-5, 4.92 ERA). Colby Rasmus and Tyler Greene are both 1 for 2, but no one else on the team is hitting over .230 against him.

Piniero has gone 7 innings his last 2 starts, losing one (vs MIN) and getting a no decision in the other (at CIN). He hasn’t faced the Brewers this year. For his career he’s 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA in 3 starts. Two of those starts are at Miller Park; that’s where he got his win, and he carries a 2.70 ERA there. Jody Gerut (late of the Padres), Bill Hall and Corey Hart are all 3 for 9 against him; Jason Kendall’s driven in 6 off Good Ol’ Joel.

Prognosis. Cardinals didn’t get the sweep I predicted at Cincinnati, but they did win 2 of 3 and trounced the Reds 10-1 on Sunday. So they carry that momentum into this series, even after the off-day. Assuming DeRosa’s available for this series, the Cardinals are as loaded offensively as they can be. This will be a tough, hard fought series between two teams with playoff aspirations. Gallardo is their best pitcher, and Suppan/Looper have excellent track records against the Cardinals. The Redbirds will have to execute their game plans, both on the mound and at the plate, to prevail here.

Send a statement, fellas. Win 2 of 3.

Go Cards!

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