We took our first loss of the 2021 MLB season on Wednesday when we had the Twins -1.5 on the run line over the Tigers in Detroit.
The game was closer than I expected, but the Twins led 3-2 heading into the seventh inning with three more at-bats to go against a weak Tigers bullpen. However, it wasn’t meant to be as the 3-2 score through six innings would stand as the final and we took a loss there at -112 odds.
It’s a long season, so let’s shake that one off and get back into the winning column with this Brewers vs. Cardinals MLB Pick from St. Louis!
- Season Record: 2-1
- Units: +0.88
Brewers vs. Cardinals Betting Odds
- Brewers (-136)
- Cardinals (+126)
- Brewers -1.5 (+123)
- Cardinals +1.5 (-143)
- Over 7.5 (+100)
- Under 7.5 (-120)
Brewers vs. Cardinals MLB Pick Breakdown
The road side will send right-hander Corbin Burnes to the hill for his second start of the season, doing so in hopes that he can build on what was a brilliant start to his 2021 season on the heels of a breakout 2020 campaign.
Burnes and Twins right-hander Jose Berrios put forth the best pitching duel of the 2021 season so far as the former worked 6.1 innings of one-run ball, allowing just a solo home run as his only hit against while punching out 11 Twins in that one. For what it’s worth, Berrios pitched six no-hit innings and punched out 12, but was pulled with a full, 162-game season ahead of him.
For his part, it was just how Burnes wanted to start the 2021 season after stepping into star-caliber territory in 2020, former a big one-two punch atop the club’s rotation alongside Brandon Woodruff.
Burnes actually out-dueled his more experienced buddy as he posted a 2.11 ERA/2.04 FIP, but even his 2.99 xFIP, 3.20 xERA and 3.18 SIERA tell us he was dominant, even if the peripherals are above his surface ERA figure.
Oh, he also racked up a whopping 13.27 strikeouts per nine innings across nine starts and 12 appearances. We knew the strikeout stuff were there when he posted a 12.86 K/9 across 49 innings in 2019, making four starts and 28 relief appearances that season.
The hype surrounding Burnes was realized last season, and if his season-opening start this season is any indication, he could graduate to full-blown superstar status here in 2021.
It’s safe to say the Brewers will be looking for an offensive turnaround this season, especially against right-handed pitching.
After approaching the league’s top 10 in many offensive categories in 2019, the Brewers’ offense fell off a cliff in 2020, tying for 22nd with a .307 wOBA on the season, but also tying for 26th with a .298 mark against right-handed pitching while their 27.2% K-rate against righties ranking 30th league wide.
Of course, Christian Yelich endured a miserable 2020 season as he was one of many star players that struggled in the shortened season, and Lorenzo Cain opted out of the season after playing the first few games.
It’s a new-look offense this season, however. The Crew will look to solve it’s issues hitting right-handed pitching by bringing in a pair of elite gloves but also capable left-handed hitters with pop and speed in the form of Kolten Wong and Jackie Bradley Jr. They also brought back the lefty-swinging Travis Shaw after they released him last season before he played the 2020 season with the Blue Jays.
Add in more-than-likely significant bounce back season from Yelich and don’t be surprised to see these Brewers see their numbers versus righties greatly improve here in 2021.
The bread and butter of this Brewers team, the bullpen isn’t exactly off to a fine start here this season.
Milwaukee enters this one ranked 16th with a 3.97 ERA, but their 5.14 FIP and 5.43 xFIP suggest they’ve been noticeably worse than that. Their 5.96 BB/9 is where those ugly FIP/xFIP numbers stem from as well as the fact they also own an elevated fly-ball rate despite allowing homers on just 11.5% of the fly-balls they’ve surrendered so far.
With Josh Hader and Devin Williams once again handling the final two innings, this bullpen should be fine, although the later did give up a game-tying homer to Chicago’s Joc Pederson in yesterday’s contest and has allowed a run in each of his two outings on the heels of winning the 2020 NL Rookie of the Year.
The Brewers have a deep stable of relievers, many of whom are projected to be well above replacement level according to FanGraphs. It’s going to be used heavily, but once the free passes are reigned in I would expect this bullpen to be one of the better groups in the NL.
The Cardinals will send veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright to the bump for this one, and unlike his counterpart Burnes, Wainwright’s season-opening start did not go as planned.
Wainwright was tagged for six earned runs on seven hits — including a homer — in just 2.2 innings of work in Cincinnati last weekend, allowing plenty of hard contact at 42.9% despite a quality ground-ball rate of 57.1% in that one.
The 39-year-old decided to return for at least another season on the heels of a 2020 campaign that saw him work to a stout 3.15 ERA. However, his 4.11 FIP, 4.23 xFIP and 4.52 xERA suggest he was not so deserving of that quality ERA figure, and his 4.39 SIERA backs up that notion.
Nonetheless, it’s solid work for a back-end starter at this point in his career. Also worth noting is the fact that Wainwright has been far better at home in his career than on the road as he’s pitched to a career 2.86 ERA at home and a 4.01 mark on the road with superior FIP and xFIP numbers at home as well.
We’ll see if he can get turned around here on his home turf in this one.
The Cardinals seemingly upgraded their offense with the acquisition of superstar Nolan Arenado and it’s been a productive group to this point in the season.
The Cardinals opened their season by hanging 11 runs on the rival Reds, getting started on a good note while they’ve averaged 5.50 runs per game here in the early going. That said, they’ve been a middle-of-the-pack club in terms of their .293 wOBA so far while they haven’t hit for a ton of power with a .161 ISO that actually ranks them 12th in the league.
The newcomer Arenado is off to a white-hot start with a .354 average and 154 wRC+ on the season while veteran Yadier Molina has produced a .316 average and 142 wRC+ so far this season.
It’s an offense that will see top prospect Dylan Carlson get full-time reps, and while he’s hitting just .158, Carlson has already hit three home runs and knocked in a team-high nine runs so far.
They have productive bats at almost every position, but the x-factors in the lineup could be Carlson and fellow youngster Tyler O’Neill who will be the club’s full-time corner outfielders barring performance moving forward.
Like the Brewers, I believe this Cardinals bullpen will be just fine when it’s all said and done despite a mediocre start to the season.
I mean, a 4.32 ERA isn’t terrible, but it sits 18th in the league at the moment. Their 4.17 FIP is solid, but their 5.22 xFIP derives from the fact they’ve allowed home runs on just 6.7% of the fly-balls they’ve surrendered. Like the Brewers, the Cardinals’ bullpen has just a 35.2% ground-ball rate on the season, so that HR/FB rate is going to increase in a big way if they can’t induce more ground-balls moving forward.
This team is oozing with high-leverage arms with late-inning experience. They’re also oozing with velocity as Alex Reyes, Jordan Hicks, Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Heisley all throw extremely hard while left-hander Andrew Millers brings a wealth of late-inning experience to the group.
Just judging from those names alone, I would think this Cardinals bullpen could be a force as we move forward this season.
Brewers vs. Cardinals MLB Pick
I’m on the Corbin Burnes train all year long. The guy is so tough to hit and has been just dominant across his last 10 starts between the 2020 season and his lone start so far this season.
You also wonder if Wainwright can get things turned around here given his fine work at Busch Stadium throughout his big-league career. In fact, I think he does it as this guy is just night and day between the road and home at this point in his career.
I’m a big believer in both of these bullpens as well. The Cardinals trot out a wealth of hard-throwing relievers that can pitch anywhere throughout the latter half of the game as high-leverage experience is key within this group.
As for the Brewers, their bullpen is a lot deeper than Hader and Williams at the end as they too can fill innings with authority throughout that group.
It’s a low total at just 7.5, but pitching is going to dominate this game, so give me the Under 7.5 in this one.