A pair of NL Central rivals kick off a three-game weekend series on Friday afternoon as the Milwaukee Brewers play their home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals. On the road, the Cardinals are favored with a money line of -140 compared to Milwaukee’s +125.
The Brewers have gotten off to a decent start this season, sitting at 3-3 a week into the season. After dropping their first series of the year against the Cubs, the Brew Crew responded by winning two out of three games against the Pirates.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are reeling at the moment, losing three in a row to drop to 2-3 on the young season. St. Louis looked good after winning the first two games of the schedule.
They couldn’t complete the sweep of the Pirates last weekend and then dropped back-to-back games against the Twins mid-week. With three straight losses, the reigning NL Central champs are just a bit off the pace in the 60-game sprint.
Back with Jack
The Cardinals will hope that ace Jack Flaherty can stop their losing skid before it gets out of control. The 24-year-old posted a 2.75 ERA in 33 starts last season and picked up where he left off in his first start against Pittsburg. Flaherty struck out six while yielding two runs on six hits over seven innings. Of course, that came against a rather young and unaccomplished Pittsburgh lineup.
Facing the Brewers figures to be more of a challenge for Flaherty. Of course, Milwaukee’s bats haven’t been red-hot to start the season, at least not the ones you’d expect to start quickly. Christian Yelich, the MVP in 2018, is just 1 for 27 to start the season. On the bright side, Keston Hiura, Lorenzo Cain, and Orlando Arcia are helping pick up the slack.
It’s also worth noting that Ryan Braun is 7 for 16 (.436) with five extra-base hits in his career against Flaherty. Lorenzo Cain is also a .300 hitter against Flaherty, although Yelich is a modest 5 for 21 against the St. Louis ace.
Lefty Brett Anderson will make his first start of 2020 on Friday. Anderson has missed the first week of the season because of a blister. However, he’s been given the all-clear to pitch on Friday.
In 31 starts for Milwaukee last season, Anderson was 13-9 with a 3.89 ERA while pitching for the Oakland A’s. He’ll make his return to the National League for the first time since six disastrous starts with the Cubs in 2017.
Outside of Paul Goldschmidt, Anderson has limited experience against the hitters in the St. Louis lineup. Of course, Goldschmidt is 8 for 15 (.533) with a pair of home runs and three walks.
That doesn’t bode well for Anderson, although the Cardinals have struggled to get going offensively. The Red Birds have scored just four runs over their three-game losing skid. Goldschmidt is seeing the ball well, but nobody else in the lineup has stood out thus far.
This is a tough call but stick with the favored Cardinals. Anderson is questionable coming off his blister issues, while Flaherty is a safe bet to have a good start and doesn’t need much run support. Bet on the Cardinals beating the Brewers on Friday.
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