The Atlanta Braves proved to be the cure for what ailed the Cardinals after a disappointing sweep to open the season against the Pirates. The Cardinals opened things against the Braves down 4-0 early. Over the next 24 innings, the Cardinals scored 31 runs, allowed eight and completed the sweep. Much like the Braves, the Brewers are not expected to contend this season as they continue their plan to rebuild.
Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy are still around for the Brewers, but for the most part, the team is a group of prospects not likely to pan out and retreads who were not wanted elsewhere. Scooter Gennett is still around. The team brought on Aaron Hill after the Diamondbacks agreed to take on half his contract as part of the Jean Segura trade. The team acquired Jonathan Villar for minor leaguer Cy Sneed. After fellow Astro Chris Carter flamed out in Houston after hitting just .199 last season without enough power to make up for the Mendoza-level batting average.
Keon Broxton is an intriguing three true outcomes center fielder, but he has always struck out a lot, and at nearly 26, is likely running out of opportunities to stick in the majors. Speaking of three true outcomes players, Domingo Santana came to the Brewers as part of the Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers trade. Santana has a bunch of power and has also struck out a lot everywhere he has been. He is just 23 and a better prospect than Broxton, but both players will be given ample time to sink or swim this season with the Brewers.
On the pitching side, the Cardinals will first face Taylor Jungmann, a right-hander with a fastball-curve mix. He walked two while striking out just one in his season debut, giving up one run over five innings. Projections have him as a slightly below average starter.
After a day off tomorrow, the Cardinals will face Chase Anderson, another player part of the Jean Segura trade. Anderson struck out five against no walks in five innings of work against the Astros. Anderson features a fourseam fastball, a curve and a change. He does not strike out a lot of hitters, but he does not allow a lot of walks either. Like Jungmann, the right-handed Anderson is pegged as slightly below average by projections.
A name fans will likely be more familiar with is Wily Peralta, who will go against he Cardinals Thursday afternoon. The right-handed Peralta appeared to have a promising career ahead of him in 2013 when he posted a 3.53 ERA. That ERA hid a 4.11 FIP, and both got worse in a disastrous 2014 season where he pitched only 108 innings and struck out fewer than 13% of batters. That has carried over to this season as Peralta has walked as many as he has struck out and failed to complete five innings in both of his starts. Peralta looks to be the worst of the Brewers starters this season.
The Cardinals are countering with Michael Wacha, Mike Leake, and Jaime Garcia. Even with the somewhat disappointing starts by all three pitchers in their opening games, the Cardinals will have the starting pitching advantage in all three games. While both teams begin this series at 3-3, the Cardinals need to continue to take advantage of the lesser teams on the schedule and take care of business.