- Michael Wacha makes his return against Wily Peralta tonight at 7:10 (all times central).
- John Lackey pitches against Mike Fiers tomorrow at 7:10.
- Lance Lynn and Kyle Lohse start Saturday at 6:10.
- Adam Wainwright and Yovani Gallardo pitch Sunday at 1:10. (edit: Looks like it could be Jimmy Nelson instead of Gallardo. I'll correct when verified)
- Carlos Gomez has a sprained wrist and will be out at least a week, if not more. Gerardo Parra is a capable replacement, but despite my respect for deserving All-Star starter Jonathan Lucroy, I think Carlos Gomez is the Brewers' best player.
- Ryan Braun might not play today. He was in Chicago last night for the birth of his first kid (congrats!). But when he does return, there are questions about his effectiveness. He's struggled lately and there are some questioning his level of fitness in the second half, as he's produced negative WAR since the break.
Ryan Braun vs. fastballs of 93+ mph in 1st half: .295. 2nd half vs. 93+ mph, hitting .213. Scouts see him almost helpless vs. fastballs now.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) September 4, 2014
- Scooter Gennett and Jean Segura have combined for 0.1 fWAR since the break, and Mark Reynolds is making the team wish they were in on Ike Davis.
- Matt Garza struggled yesterday in his return from the oblique injury he suffered against the Cardinals last month. He gave up six runs in three innings to the Cubs.
- In his eight starts since the break, Kyle Lohse's ERA, FIP, and xFIP are all approaching 5, and Wily Peralta hasn't been much better.
All eyes on Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright.
Joe Schwarz has an in-depth look at Wacha here. If he can work his way into vintage Wacha shape in the coming weeks, it would be a huge development for the Cardinals. Brandon McCarthy has pitched well after his periods of rest when dealing with this condition, so there's reason for optimism. If Wacha's condition becomes chronic, we'll never know if the timing of his return this season was a contributing factor, but it will likely be something folks will wonder about. In the meantime, it's exciting that the Cardinals think his rehab stuff is so good that he's already a better choice to start than Lyons or Gonzales.
Adam Wainwright has insisted he's "just around the corner" from working through his struggles for several starts. He's continued to not look like vintage Adam Wainwright in them, though his stuff is starting to look a little better. Even more than Wacha, I think Adam's performance for the rest of the month is the key concern for the Cardinals, not just as far as their ability to make the playoffs, but what they'll be capable of doing should they reach them.
Finally, Matt Adams has been struggling mightily of late. It'll be interesting to see how much playing time freshly called-up Xavier Scruggs gets against the Brewers' all-righty rotation. Regardless of that, Scruggs should get starts against LHP for the rest of the year, with an opportunity to grab a bench spot doing just that next season. Matt Adams has a .200/.232/.324 line against lefties this season. To put that in context, Daniel Descalso has been a significantly better hitter than Adams against lefties over their careers. Bring on X. Here's a look at Scruggs from Eric Johnson.
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