Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#957 Milwaukee Brewers vs.
#958 St. Louis Cardinals
Friday, August 12, 2022 at 8:15pm EDT
Written by Nathaniel Reeves

The top two teams in the NL Central will begin a critical three-game series on Friday night at Busch Stadium with the Milwaukee Brewers visiting the St. Louis Cardinals. Milwaukee is 0.5 games out of the division lead with a 60-50 record after earning a two-game sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays, capped by a 4-3 win on Wednesday as a -154 favorite. St. Louis is just ahead at 61-50, but dropped two of three to the Colorado Rockies including an 8-6 defeat on Thursday at -101 odds.

This has been a competitive rivalry in 2022 with the season series tied at six wins apiece.

 

Brewers pick up much-needed series win

After a rough stretch following the trade deadline to lose the NL Central lead, the Brewers got back on track with two wins over the Rays this week including a late rally to triumph on Wednesday. Mike Brosseau and Keston Hiura both hit RBi singles to get Milwaukee off to a fast start in the first before Tampa Bay fought back to take the lead, but the Brewers got a clutch homer from Rowdy Tellez in the ninth and Willy Adames' run-scoring singles won it in the 10th.

Starter Brandon Woodruff went seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits and no walks while striking out five. Devin Williams earned the win with a scoreless frame, stranding the bonus runner in extras. Hunter Renfroe was on base three times to pace the offense.

“I’ve played against him a couple times. I don’t think I’ve ever got a hit. I think I struck out every single time,” Tellez said to MLB.com about squaring off with Tampa Bay pitcher Colin Poche in the ninth. “Really, in that 3-2 count, really just wanted to see something up in the zone and try to hit a ball the other way, hit a line drive, just get on base, start off the inning. I was able to put a good swing on it. The ball carried out."

Milwaukee is down a significant number on the money line for the season while going just 46-64 on the run line. Overs are 54-47-9 for the Brewers, and only one of their last five games has gone over the betting total.

The Brewers are comfortably within the top 10 in scoring at 4.64 runs per game on a strong .739 team OPS. Milwaukee pitching has also been solidly above average with a 3.85 collective ERA including a mark of 3.93 out of the bullpen.

Hiura, a former top prospect who has struggled for the most part in the Majors, could be having a breakout season with an .841 OPS, 10 homers and 21 driven in across 47 games. Adames leads the Brewers with 2.7 WAR, posting a .704 OPS with 22 homers and 64 driven in.

Eric Lauer will take the mound for the 21st time this season, having turned in a solid campaign with an 8-8 record and 3.59 ERA across 112.2 innings of work. The 27-year-old went seven strong innings to beat the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, allowing one run on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts.

Utilityman Jace Peterson (sprained elbow) is out, and Milwaukee is thin at catcher with Omar Narvaez (strained quad) and Alex Jackson (sprained finger). Starting pitcher Adrian Houser is recovering from a strained flexor tendon. The bullpen is down Jake Cousins (elbow effusion), Jandel Gustave (forearm discomfort), Trevor Rosenthal (strained hamstring), Miguel Sanchez (elbow discomfort), Justin Topa (flexor tendon surgery) and J.C. Mejia (PED suspension).

St. Louis pitching can't handle Rockies

St. Louis has played well enough of late to take over the NL Central lead, but struggled in the altitude of Coors Field as the pitching staff allowed 29 runs across three games for a series loss. In Thursday's finale, Nolan Gorman launched a homer in the fourth to get St. Louis on the board before Corey Dickerson added an RBI single later in the inning to tie the game, yet after Colorado plated six runs in the seventh the Cardinals could only get within two despite Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado going deep.

Dakota Hudson was solid over five innings of two-run ball, allowing four hits and four walks while striking out six. Jordan Hicks was charged with the loss in relief, allowing two runs across 1.1 innings of work. Goldschmidt furthered his MVP case, going 3-5 with a double, a homer, three RBI and two runs scored.

“I don’t believe in big series. This was a big series. The Yankees series was a big series. Milwaukee’s coming to town. Our goal is to beat them. That’s it," manager Oli Marmol said to MLB.com about the critical weekend showdown with Milwaukee.

The Cardinals have been a solidly profitable money-line team this season while going 60-51 on the run line. Overs are 52-55-4 for the Cardinals, with each of their last four games going over the betting total.

This has been a strong offense all season, ranking seventh at 4.76 runs per game on a .739 team OPS that is sixth-best in baseball.  The pitching staff is closer to league average, posting a 3.91 combined ERA including a mark of 3.66 from the bullpen.

Goldschmidt is having the best season of his stellar career, batting .328/.413/.605 with 27 homers and 87 driven in. Arenado has also been terrific, piling up 6.0 WAR on a .304/.371/.561 line with 24 homers and 72 driven in.

Trade acquisition Jordan Montgomery will be on the mound after making his Cardinals debut on Saturday, when he beat his former team the New York Yankees with five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and one walk with one strikeout. The 29-year-old has made 22 starts overall, going 4-3 with a 3.53 ERA over just 119.2 innings.

Rookie slugger Juan Yepez is out with a strained forearm. Starting pitchers Jack Flaherty (strained shoulder) and Steven Matz (torn MCL) are out. Relievers Alex Reyes (shoulder soreness) and Drew VerHagen (hip surgery) round out the St. Louis IL.

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Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

These teams are close in the standings, but the Brewers have some major flaws right now that a well-rounded Cardinals team can exploit. Montgomery has been solid all season and figures to get in the win column plenty as his new team can provide a lot of run support, while Milwaukee continues to have some issues in the bullpen after trading closer Josh Hader at the deadline.

St. Louis has quietly put together an excellent offense, ranking sixth in the Majors with a 106 wRC+ thanks to the superstars Arenado and Goldschmidt both going off in addition to some unexpected players like Tommy Edman turning in career years. Lauer has fallen off since June 11, posting a 4.82 ERA and 5.50 FIP as most of his strong numbers are due to a hot start.

Montgomery has been rock solid with a 91 ERA- / 96 FIP- while walking just 4.9% of opposing batters. While the Brewers can compete when one of their better starters is on the hill, Lauer won't be able to hold up in this tough matchup.

Prediction: Cardinals -1.5 (+130)

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

The problem for the Milwaukee bullpen is depth, but after the off-day it will at least have all its high-leverage arms available led by the outstanding Williams. St. Louis is also solidly above average in the bullpen with flamethrower Ryan Helsley ready to throw multiple innings as he continues a dominant season.

Milwaukee is a solid offense by wRC+, but that's largely due to its high home run total, and the ball won't leave the park nearly as easily at pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium as it does back home. With some great arms available on both sides, the pitching and defense will be too strong on Friday.

Prediction: Under 7.5 (even)
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Written By Nathaniel Reeves , "Nathaniel Reeves"

Nathaniel Reeves is an avid sports fan with degrees in journalism from the University of Washington and statistics from Western Washington University. He's always had a passion for applying statistical analysis to sports betting and has successfully handicapped college football, college basketball, and Esports for years. Nathaniel has endured being a lifelong fan of the Seattle Mariners, along with the Seattle Seahawks, UW Huskies and soon to be Seattle Kraken. He has been a very successful sports bettor the last several years and we are thrilled that Nate has chosen to bring his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. You would be very wise to follow him daily. 
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