MLB Match-up of the Day: Milwaukee at St. Louis

The St. Louis Cardinals (62-54) host the Milwaukee Brewers (66-50) in Game 2 of the 3-game series between the 1st and 2nd Place teams in the National League Central division. After winning last night’s series opener, the Milwaukee Brewers have stretched out their lead in the NL Central to 4 games, and have won 5 straight along with 9 of their last 10. Looking to continue their success tonight against St. Louis, who they’ve beaten 7 out of the 10 times they’ve met this season, Milwaukee will try to continue to rely on their strong batting order which has contributed to a 6-run average in the 7 victories against the Cardinals thus far.

Tonight’s starting pitching match-up features Randy Wolf (8-8, 3.61 ERA) vs. Jake Westbrook (9-5, 4.83 ERA), in a solid clash between veteran pitchers with plenty of experience winning in big games.

Randy Wolf’s last start was at home against the St. Louis Cardinals, and while giving up 5 runs over 6 innings of work, he still mustered a win as the Brewers put up 10 runs of support in a 10-5 win. Expect a return to Wolf’s average in tonight’s game though, as aside from his slip against the Cardinals, he’s posted a 2.30 ERA in his previous 4 starts.

Jake Westbrook also struggled with his command last time out against the Brewers, giving up 4 runs in 5 innings of work and getting the loss in a 4-3 game. Though Westbrook controls a decent 2.84 ERA lifetime against the Brewers, he’s yet to beat them thus far in his career, though tonight would be the time to do it, as he’s on a roll recently with a 2-1 record and a 3.19 ERA in his last 5 starts since the All-Star Break.

Betting lines for St. Louis vs. Milwaukee: sportsbook gives the advantage to Jake Westbrook at home, with -130 on the moneyline. The over/under for the game lies at 8.5 runs, which could be a good wager considering the offensive production of both teams, and the run support given to each pitcher in the last few outings. The spread for the game finds St. Louis giving up 1.5 runs at +160, and Milwaukee getting 1.5 runs at -180.

Our Pick to Win: St. Louis badly needs to save some face in this series, especially at home. While the two teams will play two more series before the end of the season, if the Cardinals stand any chance in the NL Central, or the Wild Card race for that matter, they’ll need to start by taking wins away from the 1st place Brewers. With the betting lines favoring an underdog pick on the red-hot Brewers however, we’ll support Randy Wolf at +110 to have the better showing tonight and pick up a win for the Brew Crew.

Players to Watch, St. Louis:

Albert Pujols, 1B – He’s hitting .276 with 9 home runs and 19 RBIs in the last month, including 3 home runs last week. Without the hot-hitting Yadier Molina, who’s suspended due to a fight that broke out against the Brewers last week, Pujols’ veteran presence will be needed against Wolf tonight. Of additional note, he’s hitting just .128 against the Brewers, though he is 10-34 lifetime against Randy Wolf.

Matt Holliday, LF – Holliday is coming off a week hitting .364 with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs. He’ll need to up his success rate against Wolf, going 7 for 31 lifetime (.226) with 1 home run and 8 RBIs, in order to give Jake Westbrook some much needed run support.

Players to Watch, Milwaukee:

Prince Fielder, 1B – He’s 11 for 27 (.407) with 2 home runs and 9 RBIs so far in August, and is 4 for 8 with a home run against Jake Westbrook. However, he’s hitting just .258 (8-31) against St. Louis this season. Look for him to bring up his average tonight with Westbrook on the mound.

Ryan Braun, LF – Braun is 10 for 32 (.313) in August, but is only hitting .220 against St. Louis this season (9-45). He’s 3-5 against Westbrook, so there’s a good possibility for success there, even with a light history against him.

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