Cardinals look for payback vs. Brewers
Milwaukee, St. Louis battle for NL Central Division lead
The battle for the National League Central lead will continue Tuesday when the St. Louis Cardinals visit the Milwaukee Brewers.
Barely a month into the season, the Cardinals lead the division by two games after sweeping the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. They have won nine of their last 11 games heading into the three-game road series.
St. Louis followed a 9-8 victory over the Rockies on Saturday with a 2-0 victory Sunday.
"We've had times where we've won and lost some low-scoring games, we've won and lost some high-scoring games," Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. "There's not like some game script that you have written up. You're just trying to go out there and score as many runs as you can and give up as (few as) you can, and hopefully it's enough to win."
The Brewers won the last two games of their weekend road series with the Miami Marlins. That snapped a six-game losing streak they endured while battling a litany of injuries.
"You're happy with the group, and how we responded to a tough stretch," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "To finish this stretch in a positive way, with a couple of good wins and a lot of people doing good stuff, is promising."
In early April, the Brewers won two of three road games against the Cardinals.
Both teams had an off-day on Monday. It figures to prove helpful for the Cardinals, who had a chance to reset their bullpen before left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim (1-0, 3.06 ERA) makes his start Tuesday.
Kim has worked just 17 2/3 innings in his first four starts. He lasted just four innings his most recent outing, a 4-1 victory over the New York Mets that snapped a 16-game streak of Cardinals starting pitchers working at least five innings.
Kim did not face the Brewers in the earlier series between the teams. In two starts against Milwaukee last season he was 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA, allowing just one run in 12 innings on eight hits and five walks.
The Brewers will counter with Freddy Peralta (3-1, 3.38), who is coming off of his worst start of the season. He allowed five runs on four hits and three walks in four innings of a 5-4 road loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on May 5.
Peralta did not face the Cardinals earlier this season. He is 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA in seven career appearances against them, including three starts.
Goldschmidt (4-for-5, two home runs, four RBIs), Paul DeJong (3-for-8, one home run, two RBIs) and Nolan Arenado (2-for-7, one home run, two RBIs) have done damage against Peralta in their careers.
Monday's off-day was also welcomed by the Brewers, who still have a crowded injured list — headlined by outfielder Christian Yelich (back) and starting pitcher Corbin Burnes (unspecified).
But they got catcher Manny Pina and starting pitcher Brett Anderson back over the weekend. Burnes was scheduled for a bullpen session Monday after rejoining the team.
"It's what happens during a season. Everything that happens in a season happened during the 17 games, I think," Counsell said. "You know these stretches are challenging. We've got some guys who are banged up who could use a day off, for sure."