St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers squeaked by Arizona 3-2 in ten innings to punch their ticket to the NLCS where they will host the St Louis Cardinals who squeezed by Philadelphia in five games in their NLDS. The Brewers are -145 favorites over the Cardinals with an over/under run total set at 7.5.
The Cardinals and their fans have to be surprised at where this team stands after trailing the Atlanta Braves by 10.5 games the last week of August before finally nailing down the Wild Card on the final day of the regular season. The Cardinals entered the postseason riding a 23-8 hot streak and continued to win after knocking out Philadelphia in five games with a 1-0 victory in the fifth and deciding game. The Redbirds now find themselves in the NLCS for the first time since 2006 led by the tandem of Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman who were terrors in the regular season. Pujols hit .299 with 37 homeruns and 99 runs batted in during the year and has continued to smack the ball around with a .350 average against the pitching heavy Phillies. Aside from a three run dinger in game one of the NLDS Berkman hasn’t been much of a factor. Even with Matt Holliday nursing a hand injury St Louis got their offense from a different source throughout the NLDS and don’t necessarily live and die on the performance of their big three. Jaime Garcia will get the series going on the mound hoping he can duplicate his nine shutout innings in a May outing and avoid a disaster in August where the Brewers tagged him for seven runs although four were unearned.
Milwaukee rallied from a blown save by John Axford to edge Arizona 3-2 Sunday with a game winning RBI single off the bat of Nyjer Morgan in the bottom of the tenth doing the trick. The Brewers haven’t been much of a threat over the years in the postseason conversation as this has been the teams first appearance in 29 years when they lost to St Louis in the 1982 World Series. When talking about Milwaukee the conversation has to start with a pair of sluggers in Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Braun is a legitimate MVP candidate after hitting .332 with 33 homeruns with 111 runs batted in. He proved to be much more than a slugger with 30 stolen bases and 109 runs scored while Fielder topped 120 RBI’s and 35 homers for the sixth consecutive season. Players to keep an eye on are Corey Hart who had a homerun and three runs batted in but Ricky Weeks still doesn’t look like he is 100% healthy as he hit just .056 against the Diamondbacks. The game one starter will be right hander Zack Greinke whose season could be divided in to two parts; home and away. Greinke was 11-0 at Miller Park but struggled away from home where he was only 5-6 with 4.70 ERA so don’t expect to see him on the mound in St Louis.
I think the offensive edge goes to St Louis although Milwaukee has some big bats in their dugout and the way this team plays at home is simply impressive. Garcia has some pretty good numbers but the Brewers win with Greinke on the mound going 22-7 with the right hander. I have said this before but I’ll say it again; I’m not a Greinke fan as he has come up small in big games before but he has been great at home so we’ll see.
Milwaukee Brewers -145 St. Louis Cardinals