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Series Preview 8/19-21: Brewers vs. Cardinals

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

After a 4-2 trip through Kansas City and Cincinnati, the Cardinals are back in the Gateway City for a seven-game homestand. St. Louis enters play Monday with a 65-57 record, tied with Chicago for first place in the National League Central division, with Milwaukee lurking just two games behind. That makes this week’s series at Busch Stadium compelling, as the Brewers are in town for three games.

In the first game of the series on Monday, Dakota Hudson and Zach Davies will be the pitching matchup. Hudson shut the Royals out for six innings in his last outing, his first quality start since July 23rd. Hudson has not allowed a home run in his last 14 innings, but he will have to face Christian Yelich and Mike Moustakas. With 41 long balls, Yelich is tied for the second-most in baseball, while Moustakas has 30 homers - including three in his last seven games.

Davies is making his first start since August 2nd after being shelved with back spasms. Something clearly wasn’t right with Davies leading up to his placement on the injured list, as he allowed 17 earned runs in 13 innings over his last three starts. Matt Carpenter is 11-for-24 (.458) with four doubles and three homers off Davies in his career; Yadier Molina is 6-for-19, Marcell Ozuna is 7-for-18, and Paul Goldschmidt is 4-for-9, so the Cardinals won’t be an easy task for Davies as he returns to the mound.

On Tuesday, Michael Wacha and Gio Gonzalez will be the starters. Wacha logged five innings against the Reds in his last start and worked four scoreless frames before Cincinnati plated a pair in the fifth. Tuesday will be Wacha’s 17th start of the season, and he will face a Brewers bunch that has batted .252 off him. Yasmani Grandal, Moustakas, and Yelich have whiffed three times apiece against the 28-year-old.

The lefty Gonzalez will make his 11th start of the season after missing time from early-June to mid-July with arm fatigue. The Twins got to Gonzalez for five runs in 3 23 innings back on August 14th. Gonzalez has seven walks in his last eight innings, even though his 3.31 BB/9 rate is his lowest since 2016. Lefties are hitting just .160 off Gonzalez this season, compared to the right-handed batters’ average of .265.

The series will wrap up on Wednesday night with Adam Wainwright and Adrian Houser. Wainwright worked 6 23 innings against the Reds in his last start, with his three earned runs coming in the sixth. Wainwright has consecutive quality starts for the first time since the end of June, and will look to maintain his 2.19 ERA in 11 starts at Busch this season.

Houser held the Nationals to one run on two hits in his seven-inning outing back on August 16th. That came just six days after he held the Rangers to one run in six frames with a career-high 10 strikeouts. Houser has a 29:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last 28 innings and has held opponents to a collective .249 average this season, with righties hitting just .212.

So, to recap:

Monday, 8/19, 6:45 | Hudson vs. Davies | MLB Network, FSMW, KMOX, WJIR, CRN

Tuesday, 8/20, 6:45 | Wacha vs. Gonzalez | FSMW, KMOX, WJIR, CRN

Wednesday, 8/21, 6:45 | Wainwright vs. Houser | FSMW, KMOX, WJIR, CRN

Notes from around the league:

  • Red Sox starter Chris Sale met with Dr. James Andrews on Monday and will not need Tommy John surgery at this time. Boston placed the lefty on the injured list on Saturday with a left elbow injury.
  • The Athletics are calling up left-hander A.J. Puk. Puk is Oakland’s second-rated prospect and is expected to work out of the bullpen. Puk was drafted back in 2016.
  • Not that pitcher wins are a humongous deal, but it’s pretty neat that Zack Greinke joined the 200-win club over the weekend. Greinke is just the third active pitcher to reach the milestone, joining CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander.