The Milwaukee Brewers (67-70) have begun to somewhat turn their season around even though it is September. Despite it being too little, too late for the Brew Crew, this definitely tells us as fans that they never gave up. This weekend, the Brewers will play the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals (74-63) at Busch Stadium. For the Cardinals, 2012 has been a season of ups and downs. Injuries have been plaguing them, but regardless they seem to fight back and are currently battling the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates for a Wild Card shot. The Cardinals have owned the Brewers this season as they are 8-4 against them in the 12 games played so far in 2012. This series looks to be a good one as the Brewers’ new life may have given them the spark to try and make a miraculous comeback.
For this preview, I asked James Benoit, an editor at Redbird Rants a few questions about his Cardinals. Redbird Rants is FanSided’s St. Louis Cardinals blog and you can check them out by clicking on the link and you can follow them on Twitter. You can also follow James on Twitter as well. Here’s what James had to say:
RtB: Obviously the loss of Albert Pujols isn’t too catastrophic. How have the Cardinals responded to his absence?
James: I think the St. Louis Cardinals have responded quite well. Carlos Beltran is having a season that is pretty similar to the numbers that Pujols is putting up, and Matt Holliday has been fantastic. The emergence of Allen Craig as an every-day player as well as solid production both in the field and at the plate from David Freese, has helped too.
Also, I think Mike Matheny has been a very good manager considering that it is his first season. He doesn’t seem to be John Mozeliak’s “yes-man” or anyone else’s for that matter.
RtB: How does the loss of Chris Carpenter factor into 2012?
James: It has certainly affected them some, but the tremendous start to the season by Lance Lynn more than cushioned the blow. I think the call-up of Shelby Miller will help too. Joe Kelly has been both solid and consistent in the chances he’s been given too.
RtB: Is this Lance Berkman‘s last season?
James: I hate to speculate and say that it is, because it would be tough not seeing him in baseball any longer. However, I think he is little more than a shell of what he was last year. I’d have to wait and see how long his latest comeback lasts, but if he can make it the rest of the way healthy with decent production, I’d say he may have one more year left in the tank.
RtB: What are the chances of Marc Rzepczynski starting next year?
James: I think the chances of that are absolutely zero. Given the emergence of Lynn, who has proven he can succeed and Miller, who has been fantastic recently, I just don’t see that happening. Also, Scrabble hasn’t started since 2010, so I think those days for him are done. I think there are very few managers who want to move a pitcher from starter to reliever and back given what has happened to many players who have had that experience. The example that comes to mind is Joba Chamberlain.
RtB: Are there any young stars we should keep an eye out for?
James: I definitely think Kolten Wong could get a call in the very near future. Also, I like Tyrell Jenkins, who has often shown himself to be pretty polished. There are so many guys worth a look that it’s difficult to narrow down who I’d like to discuss. If I had to give a top-10 list, I’d say it would look like this:
RtB: Will the Cards be concerned if the Brewers try for a comeback?
James: I don’t think there is much of a chance of that happening. I don’t think after last year that anyone will sneak up on the St. Louis Cardinals or out-work them as far as tenacity and want-to! Of the teams that aren’t leading their division, I’d say the Cardinals are by far the best. Though I am most certainly biased, their run differential, and bad luck in 1-run games seems to be a good enough indicator that with any luck the Cardinals would be sitting atop the Central.
- Friday: Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.79 ERA) vs Kyle Lohse (14-2, 2.81 ERA): 8:15 PM EST / 7:15 PM CST
- Saturday: Mike Fiers (8-7, 3.11 ERA) vs Jake Westbrook (13-10, 3.93 ERA): 7:15 PM EST / 6:15 PM CST
- Sunday: Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.53 ERA) vs Joe Kelly (5-6, 3.54 ERA): 2:15 PM EST / 1:15 PM CST
Thank you again to James for taking the time out to help with this preview. Remember to check out Redbird Rants on FanSided and Twitter and to follow James on Twitter as well. As always, good luck to the Cardinals, but go Brew Crew!