Milwaukee Brewers (3-3) at St. Louis Cardinals (3-3)
The Brewers first 12 games of the 2016 season are against teams that made the playoffs in 2015, and the next 4 are against a team that was only 3 games out of the playoffs. For a team in a rebuilding season, this could be a rough stretch. The Brewers came through the first 2 series in good shape, winning one against the San Francisco Giants and then taking two of three against the Houston Astros.
Scooter Gennett is the hottest Brewer to start the season. He is hitting .389 after going 0-1 on Sunday. He leads the Brewers with 3 home runs and 5 runs scored. Jonathan Villar is almost as hot, hitting .294 with a home run and 2 runs scored. The two of them have a combined 9 walks in the first 6 games. Yadiel Rivera, in limited action, is hitting .500 with 2 runs scored.
Brewer pitching, for the most part, has been superb. Peralta is the only starter with an ERA over 2.70. Peralta got roughed up in both of his starts, giving up 10 earned runs, 3 home runs and walked 6 in 8.1 innings. Jimmy Nelson has given up only 4 earned runs in 13.1 innings pitched while striking out 12. Anderson and Jungmann each pitched 5 innings in their debuts, with Jungmann only giving up 1 earned run and Anderson not giving up any.
In the bullpen, Jeremy Jeffress, Blaine Boyer, Michael Blazek, and Tyler Thornburg have pitched in at least 3 games without giving up a run. Jeffress has earned a save in each of the 3 Brewer wins. There have been a couple of meltdowns. Ariel Pena gave up 5 runs on back-to-back-to-back home runs on Opening Day. He was designated for assignment the next day and the Brewers signed Sam Freeman, who made Friday’s game interesting by giving up 4 runs while only getting one out in the ninth inning of a game that the Brewers were winning 6-0. Outside of those two games, the Brewers bullpen has only surrendered 1 run.
The Cardinals were swept in Pittsburgh, then went to Atlanta and swept the Braves. Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina have both gotten off to slow starts, batting .217 and .200 respectively. Stephen Piscotty is hitting .292 with a home run and 4 runs scored.
Only one of the Cardinal starting pitchers has an ERA under 4.50 and none of them have logged more than 6 innings in a game yet this year. The one positive for the starters is that Adam Wainwright is the only one to have given up a home run.
The Cardinals are dealing with injuries again this year. Ruben Tejada, Jhonny Peralta, Tommy Pham, and Lance Lynn are all on the disabled list. The Cardinals have dealt with injuries in the past and have gone deep in the playoffs. It seems that they always have somebody ready to fill in and do the job.
This is the Cardinals home opener and they will be ramped up. Wacha, Leake, and Garcia have each given up 4 earned runs in their first start. They are riding a 3-game winning streak and will try to use that momentum to sweep past the Brewers.
The Brewers, on the other hand, are much more competitive than many experts thought they would be. They have been in all but one game this season and they have been able to close out the close ones. Look for them to continue that them in this series.
The Brewers are going to shock the world and take 2 of 3 in this series.