Series Preview – Milwaukee

The Cardinals have 30 games left and will play almost a third of those against Milwaukee. St Louis concludes this homestand with a series against the Brewers. This will be the first series against the Brewers since July 7-9.

Milwaukee leads the season series 5-4.

Today’s Tidbit: 1 September is the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland, which set off World War II. When the war ended, the Germans and Polish negotiated a cease fire, but no peace treaty was signed until German Re-unification happened.

See? Didn’t know that did you? And you thought this was just a baseball blog.

Current snapshot

St Louis: 77-55, 1st in NL Central, 10.5 games ahead of Chicago (9 on the loss side). St Louis has won 4 of 5 on the homestand after sweeping the Nationals over the weekend. They’ve won 14 of 17 overall and are currently the hottest team in baseball. They trail Philadelphia by 2 games for the best record in the league.

Milwaukee: 64-66, 3rd in NL Central, 12 games back (11 on the loss side). Milwaukee is, for all practical purposes, out of the playoff race. They recently put several of their veterans through waivers, including Trevor Hoffman. They followed up being swept by the Reds with sweeping from Pittsburgh.

Pitching match-ups

1 September: Piniero vs Braden Looper (11-6, 4.88). Looper has the best winning percentage and second best ERA of the Brewer starters. Still, I don’t think he’d call this one of his better years. He’s surrendered 32 home runs this season, worst in baseball; he’s allowing two HR per game. He faced the Cardinals on 18 May, winning 8-4. annan is listed as the Nationals ace on Baseball Reference. He has a 4.72 FIP in 160 innings this season. Lannan features a high-80s fastball he throws 2/3 of the time, and a smattering of off-speed pitches he throws about evenly (slider, curveball, changeup). Looks like his changeup might be his best pitch, but he only throws it about 10% of the time. He’s 0-2 career against St Louis, but based on his ERA (2.84) he’s pitched well in those games.

Pineiro looks to win his 14th game of the season. He beat Milwaukee 5-1 on 9 July (game described later in the Manny Parra section) and is 2-0 career against the Brewers.

2 September: Dave Bush (3-5, 5.88) vs Carpenter. Dave Bush has not faced the Cardinals in 2009. For his career he’s 2-4 with a 6.06 ERA in 6 career starts, including an 0-2, 7.50 mark at Neo-Busch. He came back off the DL on 27 August to start against the Reds; he didn’t survive the fifth and lost 8-5. In fact, the last time he pitched into the sixth inning was June 4.

Chris Carpenter? Carp has won 10 of his last 12 starts, and the only reason he hasn’t won 12 of 12 is because the bullpen blew two leads late against the Astros. He’ll go for his 15th win on Wednesday. Milwaukee is one of the few teams to give him trouble throughout his career; he’s only 2-3 with a pedestrian 4.37 ERA against them in seven starts. His only start against them was on 7 May; he threw 8 shutout innings against Yovani Gallardo and got a no decision (that game ended 1-0 Milwaukee in extras)

3 September: Manny Parra (9-10,6.66) vs Smoltz. Manny Parra’s last start against the Cardinals was a gem – 7 innings pitched, one hit, left with a 1-0 lead. This, based on his season to that date, was an anomaly. Parra has a world of talent but has been battered this season by the NL. The Cardinals came back to win that game 5-1; AP doubled in the go-ahead run, and Ludwick followed with a 3-run bomb to seal it. That comeback led to some hilarity on the Brewer airwaves; after the HR Bob Uecker started exhorting Brewer fans not togive up (as fans started streaming for the exits), saying ‘there’s a lot of baseball left, folks’ among other things. When he realized it was futile, he launched into a long discussion of Cardinal greats, guys he had played with or watched, making calling the game secondary. I guess it’s only hilarious if you were a Cardinal fan listening to the broadcast.

Manny is 1-1 in his other 2 starts this season against the Cardinals, but his win was at Neo-Busch on 17 May. For his career he’s made 4 starts at the stadium, and that decision is the only one he’s gotten.

This is the start where Smoltz proves if his previous two efforts were a realistic presentation of his current ability, or driven by the weak lineups he faced.

Prognosis/prediction. Sometimes you don’t want a day off, especially when you’re rolling along. The Cardinals are rolling along. Based on the way they have pitched since the All-Star Break, the pitching match-ups heavily favor the Cardinals, but the Brewers can still mash, and they always rise to the occasion when they face the Cardinals.

Cards drop the first game, then win the next 2 to take the series.

Go Cards!

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