The Cardinals schedule to start the season was not ideal. Opening up in Milwaukee with a group of young starters in a hitters park is not going to turn out well no matter how much talent you have. The Brewers are who we though they were a potential offensive juggernaut that has limitations everywhere else of the field. Nevertheless that Cardinals were one blown save away from a split to start the season. The scheduling god seemed to continue their cruel joke forcing the Cardinals to make as second trip to Milwaukee just two week later following a trip to Monterrey, Mexico. The Cardinals were able to salvage the final game of the series, starting the season just 2-5 against the defending Central Division Champs. The third series versus the Brewers may only be a beginning of the week late April showdown but this could be a defining moment in the race for the Central crown. The Cardinals need to come out and take advantage of a Brewers team that is dealing with serious pitching injuries. Let’s breakdown how and why the Cardinals must win this series.
Pitching matchups favor the Cardinals in 2 of 3.
Jack Flaherty has been tagged by the Brewers in two early starts giving up 9 runs and 16 hits in seven innings. Ryan Braun and Lorenzo Cain in particular have crushed Flaherty with a combined average of .492 over 23 at bats this season. Flaherty has been great at home this season in two starts with a 0.82 ERA in two starts. The Brewers will have Adrian Houser on the mound making his first start of the season. Since this is Houser’s first career start he will most likely dominate for the first 4 innings or so until the Cardinals unleash the second time through.
Zach Davies who is what you would call the opposite of a Cardinal Killer, in particular Matt Carpenter has owned Davies to a .455BA in 22 career plate appearances. Davies will most likely be opposed by Daniel Ponce De Leon taking the spot of the injured Michael Wacha. Ponce De Leon has only faced the Brewers in relief where he pitched in relief successfully striking out two on 14 pitches. Ponce De Leon is going have a big night. This is soley based on the fact I believe the Cardinals will jump out early and give him the confidence to dominate.
There was a time where Jouhlys Chacin would have dreaded a potential matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals, owning an 0-7 mark in nine career starts up until last June. Since then Chacin has won his last three starts against the Redbirds including a great opening day start where his struck out seven. Chacin will face off against Adam Wainwright whose been the definition of up and down during the start of the season. Waino will have to have his curve working against the powerful Milwaukee lineup. If not his 89 MPH (being gracious) fastball will be put on a tee for the power bats of Milwaukee.
Brewers coming off of 4 game sweep in LA
You always want to kick a team while they are down. The Brewers are coming off of an abysmal series in LA losing all four games to the 2018 National League Champs. Milwaukee has been dealing with a lot of injuries in the rotation which has caused them to force a few starts from guys they were not expecting including Chase Anderson and the game one starter Adrian Houser, injuries in their bullpen have also forced the hand of manager Craig Counsel putting guys in positions that they will not be successful.
Why the Cardinals have to win this series.
It is time for the Cardinals to show that they are the class of the NL Central. In game one, the Cardinals have their presumed “ace” on the mound in Jack Flaherty which should set the stage for the rest of the series. The key to victory is very simple, don’t pitch to Christian Yelich, take a advantage of the weakend Brewers starting pitching and take advantage of your home field. The Cardinals will not have any excuses if they are unable to win this series.