The St. Louis Cardinals (39-31, 39-31 RL, 36-31-3 O/U) and the Milwaukee Brewers (39-31, 30-40 RL, 32-33-5 O/U) conclude a four-game divisional series on Thursday afternoon. The Cardinals give the nod to Dakota Hudson targeting his sixth victory. The Brewers counter with Jason Alexander looking to keep his perfect record intact. The Cards lead the season series 6-4.
Hudson Starts, Cards Wrap Up Road Trip
The Cardinals will have Dakota Hudson on the hill for the 14th time of the year. Hudson was stellar in his previous start, limiting a good Red Sox offense to only two runs on four hits in five innings, and recorded the win to improve to 5-3. The veteran right-hander has conceded two or fewer runs in four out of his last five outings and is sporting a solid 3.31 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in 70.2 innings of work. Hudson has squandered four runs (three earned) in 7.2 innings this season and is 1-2 with a mediocre 4.21 ERA in 25.2 career innings against the rivals.
The Cards are concluding a seven-game road trip in this one. They lost two of three in Boston last weekend, marking just their second series loss of the month. St. Louis has cooled down a bit recently but is even with the Brewers atop the division entering Wednesday night.
Nolan Arenado continues to shine, delivering two homers and five RBIs in his last five games. The veteran star is having another productive season, launching 13 big flies with 46 RBIs and an .837 OPS. Arenado has been mediocre against the Brewers, going 8 for 32 with four RBIs.
The Cardinals' potent offense is averaging 4.81 runs on the year, good for fifth overall. The pitching staff brings a 3.79 team ERA into this one, placing them 10th in the Majors.
Alexander Remains Undefeated
The Brewers will have Jason Alexander on the mound for the fifth time of the year. Alexander resumed his fine work last time out, holding the Reds to three runs (two earned) in 5.2 innings, and collected his first career win to bring his record to 1-0. The rookie right-hander is enjoying a remarkable start to his Major League career, allowing eight runs (six earned) in 22 innings pitched, resulting in a stifling 2.42 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.
The Brew Crew have recovered from an eight-game slide in a big way. They have now won four out of their last five games propelled by outstanding pitching. They issued a three-game sweep against the Reds prior to this series.
Hunter Renfroe has played a big part in the Brewers' success in the last week. The 30-year-old slugged has three homers accompanied by seven RBIs in his last six bouts. Renfroe now has 13 taters with 27 RBIs and a .790 OPS on the year. He is 5 for 18 against the Cardinals this season.
The Brewers are scoring an average of 4.33 runs per game, ranking them 16th overall. The pitching staff has logged a 3.67 team ERA, positioning them eighth in the big leagues.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Cardinals are playing like a real contender and they have to be confident with this matchup with Dakota Hudson on the mound. The Brewers have not been good at home, losing seven out of their last eight home games. They recently had an ugly eight-game slide and while they have been playing better recently, they benefited from playing the Reds before this series.
Furthermore, Dakota Hudson is reliable. The right-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in five out of his last seven starts. He tossed 4.2 shutout innings against Milwaukee late last month. The Brewers are starting Jason Alexander. He is a rookie and while he has yet to have a bad start, it is only a matter of time considering he has squandered 29 hits in 22.1 innings.
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect this one to go over. The Cardinals should get to the inexperienced Jason Alexander. The offense is consistently generating runs, scoring an average of 5.4 runs in their last ten games.
In addition, while I expect Hudson to contain the Brewers, he has accrued a mediocre 4.21 career ERA against the foes and overall Milwaukee is heating up at the plate. They have scored 26 runs in their last six games overall. The over is also 7-3 in the Cardinals' last 10 games.