Jimmy Nelson (9-9, 3.57 ERA) and the Milwaukee Brewers (47-65) meet John Lackey (9-7, 2.85 ERA) and the St. Louis Cardinals (71-39) in the last of a three-game division series at Miller Park. The Cardinals won the last game 3-0 and St. Louis leads the series 2-0. The game gets underway at 2:10 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 9 and will air on FSWI and FSMW.
In his most recent outing, Nelson pitched 6.2 innings, giving up zero runs (one unearned), striking out four and walking one in a 4-1 victory over the Padres. Gerardo Parra (.323, 59 Rs, 9 HRs, 31 RBIs, 9 SBs) continued his strong season yesterday, going 2 for 5 with one run. The Cardinals were unsuccessful the last time Lackey pitched. He tossed 6.0 innings, allowing three runs, striking out five and walking two in a 3-2 loss to the Reds. Randal Grichuk (.287, 41 Rs, 14 HRs, 43 RBIs, 4 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday with one run.
Milwaukee is a +113 underdog in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at seven runs. When playing as the underdog, the Brewers have a 27-40 record and overall money line at -1,648. They have struggled as the underdog over their last 10 games, going 0-4. Whenever an NL Central opponent shows up on the calendar, the Brewers pitch better. They allow an average of 4.4 runs per game, but allow just 3.9 against teams from their own division. An area where the Brewers are particularly strong at home is striking batters out, where they average 8.4 K's per home game.
Switching to the opposing bench, the Cardinals come into this game with a solid win percentage of .716 when playing as the favorite (58-23) and an overall money line of +2,305. Against teams in their division, they are 29-16 SU and have played well as the favorite with a 23-8 record. St. Louis is one of the top hitting teams in the NL with an average of 8.7 hits per contest. Switching gears to St. Louis's pitching staff, they have the lowest ERA in the NL at 2.61. They have a WHIP of 1.20 on the year, good for fourth in the league. They also have some of the most overpowering arms in baseball with an NL-high 8.4 strikeouts per road game.
The Cardinals had the upper hand against the Brewers in their previous 11 games this season, earning an 8-3 record. The Brewers will take on a right-hander (Lackey) in this game and have a 34-53 record against right-handed starting pitchers this season. The right-handed Nelson will take the mound against the Cardinals. Against righty starters this season, they've racked up an impressive 55-25 record.
Predictions: SU Winner - StL, O/U - Over
The Cardinals sit at 30-16 against their divisional rivals, while the Brewers are 18-25.
Milwaukee has won 48% (26-28) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, St. Louis has won 66% (23-12) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Cardinals managed to give up five walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Brewers who are heading in with a 12-3 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
When they are outhit, the Brewers are 8-51. The Cardinals have a 19-25 record when opponents outhit them.
Ranking 24th in home runs, St. Louis has hit 90 this season. Milwaukee ranks 20th with 96 home runs.
Ranking ninth, Milwaukee is in the top 10 of the league in hits, notching 8.49 per game. St. Louis ranks in the top five at fifth with 8.68.
Ranking 23rd, Milwaukee is near the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.696). St. Louis ranks in the top half at 15th with an OPS of .712.
The Cardinals are 28-27 in games where they allow one or more home runs. The Brewers are 26-45 when they allow at least one homer.