The St. Louis Cardinals are in Milwaukee Thursday for game 1 of a 4-game series with their rivals, the Brewers, in a renewal of one of the more underrated rivalries in the game. We always hear plenty about teams like the Red Sox and Yankees and the Dodgers and Padres hating each other, but make no mistake, there will be no love lost tonight at Miller Park between the Brewers and Cardinals, as these teams just don’t like each other.
This line opened up with Milwaukee as (-145) home field favorites and while some books have adjusted that number slightly, the consensus line still has the Brew Crew as favorites, laying that dollar forty-five in what is their 2022 home opener. The game total is on the lower side at 8 runs, with a solid starting pitching matchup between Adam Wainwright and Brandon Woodruff. First pitch is scheduled for 2:14 PM PST from Miller Park in Milwaukee.
St. Louis Cardinals (3-1)
The only thing that has been able to slow down this sizzling hot start for the St. Louis Cardinals has been the rain, as the Red Birds lost a pair of games last week in their opening homestand of the year due to bad weather. St. Louis has only played one game since Sunday, a win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, and as they head to Milwaukee today, they are going to have fresh legs and are hoping that the canceled games won’t slow down their momentum.
Have a night, Albert ? pic.twitter.com/aMRNId9Vef
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 13, 2022
One guy that has been almost unbelievable hot has been superstar 3rd baseman Nolan Arenado. A lot of the talk in the offseason in St. Louis was about the return of Card’s legend Albert Pujols, and while that move was certainly a feel-good story, Pujols is well past his prime, and it is Arenado that is going to have to do the heavy lifting this year if St. Louis is going to break through with the NL Central Division title.
Arenado is 2nd in the National League in RBIs right now with a whopping 9 ribbies in just 16 at-bats. He has had at least 2 RBIs in each game for the Cardinals and the only guy with more RBIs than him right now in the league, is Mets slugger Pete Alonso, and he needed nearly twice as many at-bats to do it. It is way too early to start projecting out any stats, but his slash line of a.438 batting average, 3 home runs, 9 RBI, and a completely absurd 1.658 OPS has to have Cardinal’s fans feeling optimistic that last year’s mediocre season, at least to his standard, was a fluke, and that this season he is going to be back in the NL MVP chase.
Seeing Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, and Albert Pujols reunited in St. Louis in spring training was a heartfelt moment, as those guys had played together for a long time, and even the biggest Cardinal’s haters had to at least somewhat enjoy that moment. And while that was fun to watch, the reality is that this is almost certainly going to be the final season for each of these guys and nostalgia doesn’t win you baseball games. But, at least for right this minute, they all look like they can still play ball, and that is especially true for starter Adam Wainwright.
I would think at some point that Wainwright will start looking his age, but he is coming off one of his best years ever last year, where he won 17 games with a 3.05 ERA, and in his first start of this season, he was sharp, tossing 6 shutout innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It isn’t completely unprecedented to see a guy pitch at this high of a level at age 40, but it is close, as we just haven’t seen production like this out of a 40-year-old in a long time.
When you look at how Wainwright has been able to have this career renascence, it is because he has adjusted his style on the mound. Instead of trying to overpower guys and strike them out, he now pitches to contact, and his command has been on point, as he basically never walks anybody anymore. That strategy has allowed him to pitch efficiently and get deep into games. Last year, Waino pitched 6 innings or more in 24 of his 32 starts and we saw that effective efficiency in his lone start of this season as well, as he needed just 81 pitches to get through 6 innings against Pittsburgh.
Today’s Starting Pitching Matchup
Milwaukee Brewers (3-3)
It has been a concerning start to the season for the Milwaukee Brewers. While it is far too early to be ringing any alarm bells, the Brewers have played games against the Cubs and the Orioles, teams that aren’t going to sniff the playoffs this season, and the results have been, how do I say this gently? Unsatisfying?
I am never one to overreact to a small sample size of data, but when I take a closer look at the Brewer’s lineup, this early season power outage could be a sign of things to come for Milwaukee. Christian Yelich is the only established power hitter in this lineup, and the former NL MVP has never looked the same since that injury late in the 2019 season that likely cost him a 2nd MVP Award. Yelich has homered just 21 times in his last 2 seasons combined, spanning 175 games. That is a far cry from his level of production that saw him club 80 dingers in 277 combined games in 2018-2019.
3 months of work
640 tons of sand
100,000 sq. ft. of sod.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 14, 2022
Unless Andrew McCutchen wakes up this morning and isn’t a washed-up 35-year-old, or someone like Kolton Wong, Lorenzo Cain, or Willy Adames suddenly finds some power after long careers of never having any, the Brewers aren’t going to be a team that is going to score many runs this season. That doesn’t mean that they can’t still win games, as their pitching staff is elite, but we are going to see a lot of 3-2 types of games out of Milwaukee this season as the run production won’t be there.
It is hard to pitch any worse than Brandon Woodruff did in his first start of the season, as he got lit up by the Chicago Cubs. Woodruff pitched just 3.2 innings and got blasted for 7 runs, all earned, on 6 hits and 3 walks. It was amongst the worst starts of his entire career, as you have to go back to a 2018 appearance at Coors Field to find another outing where Woodruff got hit so hard. As I mentioned earlier, I am never going to overreact to a small sample size, so this one bad start isn’t going to convince me that Woodruff isn’t any good, as last year, he was one of the best pitchers in the league, with a 2.56 ERA.
The problem for Woodruff is that he suffers from a lack of run support. Despite his elite productivity last season, he finished with a losing record overall at 9-10. Not that it mattered all that much, as Woodruff got pounded anyway, but in his first start this season, the Brewer’s lineup couldn’t even manage a single run in support of him. Going back to last year, the Brewers have now lost each of his last 7 starts, which is a headscratcher for a guy that finished 5th in the Cy Young Award voting last season.
St. Louis Cardinals vs Milwaukee Brewers Betting Odds And Team Statistics
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Teams||Money line||Total||Run Line|
|St. Louis Cardinals||(+130)||Over 8 (-110)||+1.5 (-160)|
|Milwaukee Brewers||(-145)||Under 8 (-110)||-1.5 (+140)|
|Team Data||St. Louis Cardinals||Milwaukee Brewers|
|Runs Per Game||6.25||3.00|
|Runs Against Per Game||4.00||4.24|
|Hits Per Game||8.75||6.83|
|K’s Per Game||6.50||7.67|
St. Louis Cardinals vs Milwaukee Brewers Prediction:
While I am 100% sure that Brandon Woodruff will be better today in this game than he was in his last start, if the Brewers don’t score any runs, they can’t win this game. Adam Wainwright isn’t a shut you completely down kind of guy at this point in his career, but he nearly always pitches at least decent, and he gives his team a chance to win every time that he takes the mound. This feels like one of those very low scoring games where both starters pitch well, and the game comes down to which team can come through with a timely hit when it matters.
St. Louis Cardinals vs Milwaukee Brewers Betting Trends:
- St. Louis is 15-5 SU in their last 20 games
- St. Louis is 6-1 SU in their last 7 games against Milwaukee
- St. Louis is 11-1 SU in their last 12 games on the road
- St. Louis is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games when playing on the road against Milwaukee
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of St. Louis’ last 5 games played in April
- Milwaukee is 4-10 SU in their last 14 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Milwaukee’s last 5 games at home
- Milwaukee is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games when playing at home against St. Louis
- Milwaukee is 1-5 SU in their last 6 games against an opponent in the National League
Nothing about how the Brewers have looked this year, or how I expect this poorly constructed lineup to perform this season, tells me that the Brewers are going to be the team that is able to come through in the clutch in this game. You can pencil Wainwright in for 6+ innings of quality work and if I am choosing between a lineup that has studs like Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Tyler O’Neil or a lineup that feature’s the rotting carcass of Christan Yelich, Hunter Renfroe who is hitting .143, and Keston Hiura hitting in the middle of the lineup after posting a .168 batting average last year, I am not sure that is even a choice, as the Cardinals are clearly the better side of this matchup.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 13, 2022
If Brandon Woodruff’s poor outing in his first start bleeds into this game, we are going to win this game without a sweat. But assuming that Woodruff is back to his normal self, and I would think that is likely the case, the Brewers still need to support him, and they just haven’t been able to do that in a very long time. To be able to back the Cardinals as fairly significant underdogs, against a team that hasn’t won with this starter on the mound in 7 straight starts, shows outrageous value. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals as road underdogs today as they take game 1 against the Milwaukee Brewers to spoil their rival’s home opener!