The Milwaukee Brewers just split a brief two game series with the Cubs, and will take on the red-hot Cardinals in St. Louis. This series is extremely important for both the central division and the NL wild card race, and the Brewers can either push the Cardinals away from a playoff spot, or put them into one.
The Cardinals were counted out of contention by many earlier this season, and their struggles even got to the point of firing their manager. But with this recent hot stretch, they are right back in it. A lot of their success is due to the home run barrage by Matt Carpenter.
The Cardinals’ Recent Success
Carpenter is now leading the National League in home runs with 33, and a lot of his damage has been as of late, as he won NL Player of the Month in July. The Brewers will hope that this series is the start of him cooling down, but then again Carpenter has done a lot of damage against the Brewers in his career, so that is unlikely.
The Brewers are leading the season series against the Cardinals 7-6, but this will be the first game against the Cardinals with new additions Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop in the lineup. The Cardinals added Tyson Ross but not much else at the deadline. Also, they traded away Tommy Pham in an interesting move with the Rays.
The Milwaukee Brewers coming into this series are up and down in terms of the record, as they have been winning series’, but not sweeping or getting swept. They have actually lost the last game of the series in 11 consecutive series. The Cardinals meanwhile, have won eight straight games.
Brewers Bullpen Struggles
One unit that is really struggling however is the bullpen, which is one of the biggest strengths of the team when it’s right. Part of their struggles are due to injuries, but also guys just struggling like Matt Albers and Corey Knebel. Even Josh Hader and Corbin Burnes haven’t looked as sharp as they were earlier in the season.
The Milwaukee Brewers will need the bullpen to regroup and get back to their ways if they want to get into the playoffs and have success. They cannot have a lead in games against the Cubs or Cardinals and not be able to keep it due to the bullpen, when earlier this year once they got a lead around the 6th inning the game was basically over.
The Cardinals success and the Brewers and Cubs being up and down have allowed the Cardinals to somewhat get back into the race for the division, but more importantly the wild card, as they are only a game back of the second spot.
NL Central Standings Update
With the Cardinals recent hot stretch, they are now just four games back of the division lead, and just one game back of the Brewers. The Cardinals are getting dangerously close to overtaking the Crew for second place in the division and the number one Wild Card slot. This is an important series to win as the season winds down.
This series will have a big impact on where both of these teams can be when the playoffs come around, and it should be entertaining to watch two up and coming rivals go at it with something on the line.