Brewers at Cardinals – Free Pick September 7th

Milwaukee Brewers +128 vs St. Louis Cardinals -133 (Total: 7.5)

Yovani Gallardo vs. Kyle Lohse

Very quietly and with next to no fanfare, the Milwaukee Brewers have crept back to seven games back in the wildcard chase; two games closer than the St. Louis Cardinals were a year ago today.  I don’t think they have quite enough left in the tank to leapfrog all the teams in between them and the post-season, but this weekend’s series with the Cards will go a long way in determining if we have an interesting race, well, brewing in the National League.

Both teams send their aces to the hill to kick off a fantastic weekend set.  Yovani Gallardo became the de facto ace after the Brewers shipped Zack Greinke to Anaheim, and while his won/loss record is respectable, the rest of his numbers are not exactly ace-like.  His 3.89 ERA is nowhere close.  His last three starts have been indicative of his season; a 2-0 record, despite a 4.89 ERA and a WHIP of 1.45.

Kyle Lohse has been phenomenal all season long.  He enters with a 14-2 record, 2.81 ERA and a WHIP of 1.10.  He is a legitimate Cy Young candidate and deserves some strong consideration.  However, he has also showed some signs of slowing lately.  He is 2-0 in his last three starts, but like Gallardo, has benefited from some strong run support, as a 4.58 ERA doesn’t usually garner a perfect record.

So who has the edge tonight?  Let’s look at some interesting stats to find an edge…

The Brewers can hit.   And not just bad pitching.  In fact, they are 4-0 in their last four games against a starting pitcher with a WHIP under 1.15.  Once you get down to 1.15 WHIPs you are talking about the top 10 or 15 pitchers in the league.   The Brewers also seem to win when Gallardo takes the bump.  They are 13-3 in his last 16 starts and have won six in a row against NL Central foes.

Sounds good for Milwaukee, right?  Here’s why I’m wagering Cards.

The Cardinals are 7-1 in Lohse’s last eight starts as a favorite between -110 and -150.  They are 14-3 in his last 17 starts at home against a team with a losing record.  Those stats basically neutralize the Brewer’s stats with Gallardo.  The difference make to me is the fact that the Brewers are 1-8 in Gallardo’s last nine starts as a road underdog.  With Lohse opposing him, they are a definite underdog tonight.

Don’t be seduced by the line begging you to take the Brewers with big-name Gallardo on the mound.  This year, his reputation has easily outpaced his production.  Take the Cards to win at home.

Free Pick:  St. Louis Cardinals to WIN -133