The second palce St. Louis Cardinals arrived in Milwaukee for a showdown with the first place Brewers on Monday 2.5 games back in race for the National League Central crown. Each of the clubs had faced the Cubs and the Astros in their previous two series with the Brewers going 6-0 in sweeping both of the divisional cellar-dwellars while the Redbirds managed only a 4-3 mark after splitting a four-game series at Busch with Houston and missing the sweep of the Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball. The Brew Crew were hot coming into the series; the Cards, not so hot. The Cardinals leave Milwaukee lukewarm after suffering 10-5 shellacking in the rubber match of the three-game series.
The Brewers lineup bruised the top three St. Louis starters this go-around. Chris Carpenter surrendered five earned runs in five innings pitched in Monday's Game 1, Jaime Garcia gave up only three earned runs--but seven total--in his five innings worked on Tuesday, and Edwin Jackson was shelled with the Brew Crew plating ten runs (eight earned) in seven innings pitched this afternoon. A ball club is not going to win very many series when its starters give up five, seven, and ten runs respectively--no matter how many are unearned.
Last season, the Cardinals owned the Reds but had trouble with most every other club. This season, the situation is somewhat reversed. The 2011 incarnation of the Cardinals has largely handled poor teams, last week notwithstanding, while struggling with the elite clubs. Milwaukee is Exhibit A. With today's 10-5 drubbing, the Cards are now 3-6 against these first-place Brewers with nine head-to-head match-ups remaining. Six will be played in the shadow of the Gateway Arch and three in the shadowy lair of Bernie the Brewer. The first of the three remaining series will begin on Monday in St. Louis. If the Cardinals hope to make up their 3.5-game deficit in the standings, that would be a good time to start.