The St. Louis Cardinals look for their third straight victory and to keep a hold on first place in the National League Central when they host the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night. St. Louis won the opener over Milwaukee, 3-0, to open up a half-game lead on the idle Chicago Cubs in the division.
The loss pushed the Brewers three games behind the Cardinals in the tight NL Central race. Milwaukee has lost two straight and six of its last eight games to drop to 2.5 games out of the Wild Card chase. The Cubs hold the second Wild Card spot currently, with both Philadelphia and New York above the Brewers at just two games back.
The moneyline for this contest has the Milwaukee Brewers -110 and the St. Louis Cardinals +100. The over/under for the game has been set at 10.
Needing A Win
The Brewers will turn to Gio Gonzalez on the mound for Tuesday’s game. Gonzalez is 2-1 on the season with a 3.81 ERA. The left-hander hasn’t taken a decision since late May, though he did spend two months on the injured list. His last start was his worst of the season, as he lasted just 3 2/3 innings against Minnesota, giving up five earned runs and five hits, including three home runs, while walking four.
Christian Yelich continues to be one of the game’s best players, putting himself in serious contention for a second straight National League MVP award. Yelich has feasted on St. Louis pitching this season, batting .375 with eight home runs and 19 RBI, which is likely why he drew three walks in Monday’s opener. Mike Moustakas has been a solid sidekick to Yelich this season, putting up 30 home runs, 71 RBI and 70 runs, all second on the team to Yelich.
The St. Louis starting rotation has been putting it together since the All-Star break, which is why the Cardinals have pulled themselves back to the top of the division. Dakota Hudson went 6 2/3 innings Monday night without giving up a hit, and the Cardinals had a combined one-hitter in the victory, the team’s third shutout in seven games. Michael Wacha gets the start in this one as he tries to get back on track after two straight losses. Wacha is 6-6 on the season with a 5.44 ERA but has allowed eight earned runs in 8 2/3 innings over his last two outings.
St. Louis has depth to its lineup, but it also has inconsistency. Kolten Wong currently leads the team with a .275 batting average, and the Cardinals currently rank 13th in the 15-team National League with a team batting average of .243. Paul Goldschmidt has caught fire since the All-Star break and leads the team with 28 home runs and 68 RBI. Paul DeJong and Marcell Ozuna have power as well, with each hitting 22 home runs this season.
Cardinals Win Again
St. Louis seems to be doing just enough to get victories these days, while Milwaukee seems to be falling just short more often than not. The Cardinals have learned not to let Yelich beat them, and Wacha is due for a solid outing. I’m going with St. Louis +100 to get the win.