For the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth times this season the St. Louis Cardinals will face off against the Milwaukee Brewers. The teams play each other in a final three-game series in St. Louis to wrap up their season series. With the Brewers clinching the National League Central Division title and the Cardinals magic number to claim the second Wild Card spot down to one, neither team has much to play for in regards to the postseason. After being swept in four games by the Cardinals in their previous matchup, though, the Brewers will likely be looking to reclaim some pride back. Meanwhile the Cardinals are on a roll and want to keep the wins coming.
The Cardinals and Brewers just played last week — stlcardsfan4 has the preview right here — so we are going to make this quick and just go over the matchups.
Tuesday, September 27 at 6:45 pm CT
Brandon Woodruff vs. Adam Wainwright
While Corbin Burnes has been making all the headlines, and deservedly so, Brandon Woodruff’s great season might be somewhat overlooked. Woodruff ranks seventh in the baseball among qualified pitchers in fWAR with 4.8, third in ERA with 2.52, and sixth in FIP with 2.89. His strikeout rate is 30.2%, which is seventh in Major League Baseball among qualified pitchers, a walk rate of 6.2% and a HR/9 of just 0.87.
Woodruff throws five pitches: 4-seamer, sinker, curveball, changeup, and slider. His 4-seamer and sinker are his two primary pitches, each coming in about 96 mph. With lefties he likes to bump up his changeup usage to about 22.7%. Righties will see almost no changeups, but will get an increased dose of sliders at 17.6%. His best pitch by far has been his sinker. The Wiff% on the pitch is only 14.8%, but the batting average against it is only .236 with an excepted batting average against of .270. This explains why Woodruff is in the top 6% of the league in exit velocity allowed at 85.9 mph.
Toeing the rubber against him is Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright. Wainwright has had a bit of a resurgence in 2021 and is currently in the midst of one of his best careers in recent years. He is tied for sixteenth in the majors in fWAR at 3.8 and at 40 years old has just crossed over 200 innings pitched for the sixth time in his career. He is tenth in ERA at 3.05, slightly outperforming a 3.89 FIP, partially because his lower strikeout-rate 21.2%. He is helped by having a higher groundball percentage at 46.9% and lower HR/FB rate at 11.4%. Waino also has the best defense in the majors playing behind him.
Wainwright is right behind Woodruff in having one of the top sinkers in the Major League Baseball. With the great defense behind him his sinker has a batting average against of .169 versus a .231 expected batting average against.
Wednesday, September 29 at 6:45 pm CT
Adrian Houser vs. Miles Mikolas
In over 137 innings pitched Adrain Houser has been cromulent for the Brewers. He has a 3.34 ERA and 4.34 FIP with 17.9% K% and 10.7% walk rate and low HR/9 at 0.79. He throws a sinker about 54% of the time followed by a curveball, 4-seamer, changeup, and slider. His best pitch by far has been his sinker per Baseball Savant’s run value. He uses it a lot and it has been a pretty successful pitch for him. He throws it almost 70% of the time to righties versus just 37.3% of the time to lefties. Overall his righty versus lefty splits are pretty stark. His slash line against for righties is .196/.288/.306 versus .271/.369/.389 for lefties.
Making his ninth start of the season to face him will be Miles Mikolas. It has been an injury-riddled season for Mikolas. In 39 innings pitched he has a 4.15 ERA, a 4.52 FIP, and only a 14.8% strikeout rate. However his walk rate is just 6.2%, which is a good sign. This season Mikolas has thrown a 4-seamer, slider, and sinker at about the same rate, followed by the curveball and the occasional changeup. His curveball is a pitch that has really been hurting him in its limited use. He has thrown the pitch 107 times this season and it has a .455 batting average against with just a 19% Wiff rate and 2 homers off it. It is easy to see where the trouble is by examining the pitch location:
Thursday, September 30 at 12:15 pm CT
I think this matchup is going to be Eric Lauer vs. Jack Flaherty just counting backwards to the pitchers from five games earlier, but I could be wrong. In his last start Flaherty only recorded one out and allowed to hits and two runs with one home run. Dakota Hudson took over for him and could be the starter instead. There is also the option of J.A. Happ, who started the first game of the Friday double-header. With the off day, Jon Lester will also be on normal rest.