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Series Preview 9/13-15: Brewers vs. Cardinals

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at St. Louis Cardinals
Flaherty will take the mound on Saturday evening.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

With a four-game lead in the National League Central with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Cardinals are back in St. Louis to open a six-game homestand. The Brewers, winners of seven straight, are in town this weekend for a three-game series.

The Brewers announced on Thursday that outfielder Christian Yelich will not need surgery for his fractured right patella. His recovery time is an estimated 10-12 weeks, while the timetable for a recovery from surgery could have affected his ability to have a normal spring training and start to the 2020 season.

Entering play on Friday, the Cardinals hold a four-game lead over both the Cubs and Brewers in the division. The Braves up by 8 12 games in the East, and the Dodgers clinched the West earlier this week. The Nationals hold the top Wild Card spot by 3 12 games, with the Cubs and Brewers tied for that second spot. The Mets and Phillies both sit just two games out.

In Friday’s series opener, Adam Wainwright and Adrian Houser will be the pitching matchup. Wainwright has logged seven innings apiece in his last two starts and has not allowed a home run in his last 18 innings. Wainwright’s 1.02 HR/9 rate is his lowest since 2016. Wainwright as a 2.51 ERA in 240 career innings against the Brewers, with a 211:50 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Houser enters his Friday assignment with 39 strikeouts in his last 36 23 innings, spanning over his past seven starts. Houser made back-to-back starts against the Cardinals on August 21st and 27th. The current Cardinals roster is slashing .311/.382/.492 off Houser, highlighted by extra-base hits from Yadier Molina, Dexter Fowler, and Paul Goldschmidt.

On Saturday, Jack Flaherty and Jordan Lyles will take the mound. Flaherty has been getting some much-deserved attention from a sport-wide level over the last week. Flaherty has a 0.76 ERA since the All-Star break and logged eight scoreless innings against the Pirates in his last start - and eight scoreless innings against the Giants the start before that. Flaherty has 56 strikeouts over his last 47 innings and enters the weekend with a season ERA of 2.99. For reference, he had a 4.64 ERA at the break.

MLB.comWhere does Flaherty’s insane 2nd half rank?

Lyles will make his career-high 26th start of the season on Saturday and ninth for the Brewers. In eight starts for Milwaukee, Lyles has a 2.51 ERA with batters hitting just .201 against him in 43 innings. Lyles’ 9.12 K/9 rate is the best of his career, and his 8.55 H/9 rate is his best for a season with a minimum of 100 innings.

Michael Wacha and Chase Anderson will pitch in Sunday’s series finale. Wacha pitched four innings against the Rockies in his last start and has worked past the fifth inning in only one of his past 11 starts. Sunday will be Wacha’s 22nd start of the season and third against the Brewers.

Anderson has a 7.20 ERA over his last seven starts, totaling 30 innings. In the span, Anderson has a 1.63 WHIP with nine homers allowed. Marcell Ozuna, Fowler, and Molina are a combined 17-for-51 (.333) off Anderson, each with a home run. Paul DeJong has also taken the 31-year-old deep. Though Matt Carpenter is just 3-for-21 off Anderson, he has walked eight times.

So, to recap:

Friday, 9/13, 7:15 | Wainwright vs. Houser | FSMW, KMOX, WJIR, CRN

Saturday, 9/14, 6:15 | Flaherty vs. Lyles | MLB Network, FSMW, KMOX, WJIR, CRN

Sunday, 9/15, 1:15 | Wacha vs. Anderson | FSMW, KMOX, WJIR, CRN