St. Louis decided to give Chris Carpenter an extra day of rest this week. That could be bad news for Randy Wolf and Milwaukee when the Brewers host the Cards at Miller Park.
Randy Wolf isn’t an elite pitcher, but the Milwaukee Brewers are thrilled to have him.
The bar isn’t exactly set high for Wolf since Milwaukee’s starting pitchers compiled a 5.37 ERA last year, worst in the major leagues. Wolf, though, probably is going to have to be extra sharp if the Brewers hope to beat St. Louis Sunday night at Miller Park in the ESPN game.
That’s because the Cardinals are going with ace Chris Carpenter, who is 69-24 in his past 126 starts with St. Louis. Carpenter’s 2.24 ERA led the National League last season.
Carpenter dominated National League Central Division foes in 2009 going 11-0 with a 1.73 ERA. He is 37-12 career-wise versus NL Central opponents.
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The right-hander had just one shaky inning in pitching the Cardinals past Cincinnati, 11-6, this past Monday in the team’s season opener. Carpenter gave up homers to Joey Votto and Scott Rolen in besting Aaron Harang as a 140 road favorite.
Those were the only two runs Carpenter allowed in six innings. He surrendered five hits, struck out three and didn’t walk a batter. The combined 17 runs sailed ‘over’ the 7 ½ total.
Wolf won in his Milwaukee debut, defeating Colorado, 7-5, this past Tuesday. Wolf struck out eight, while yielding four runs in 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander threw 97 pitches, 72 of which were strikes. Wolf was a 155 home favorite against Greg Smith. The combined 12 runs went ‘over.’
Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Felipe Lopez, who played for Milwaukee last season, all have good histories when facing Wolf. Pujols is 5-for-16 (.313) against him. Holliday is 5-for-16 (.312) with four extra-base hits and Lopez is 7-for-21 (.333) versus Wolf.
The Cardinals have won eight of the past 10 times in Milwaukee during the past two seasons entering Saturday, including the last six. The ‘under’ has cashed eight consecutive times when the Cardinals and Brewers have met going in Saturday’s Game 2 of the series.
Carpenter and Wolf clashed twice last season when Wolf pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Brewers signed Wolf to a $29.75 million, three-year contract in the offseason.
The last time Carpenter and Wolf squared off was in the postseason with the Dodgers winning, 5-3. Carpenter allowed four earned runs on nine hits in five innings as a 135 road favorite. He walked four and struck out three. Wolf lasted only 3 2/3 innings, surrendering two runs on six hits with five walks and two strikeouts.
Carpenter went 2-1 against the Brewers last season, with his one loss coming 1-0 as a 112 road ‘dog to Yovani Gallardo on May 25. Carpenter was brilliant in defeat, not allowing a run in eight innings. He gave up just two hits and struck out 10, while not walking a batter. The combined one run easily went ‘under’ the 7 ½ figure.
Carpenter defeated the Brewers, 10-3, on Sept. 2 as a whopping $2.50 home favorite versus David Bush. The 13 runs sailed ‘over’ the total of eight. Carpenter gave up three earned runs and eight hits in six innings with four strikeouts and three walks.
Carpenter then beat Milwaukee and Bush again, 3-0, on Sept. 7 as a 2.00 road favorite. The combined three runs dipped ‘under’ the eight. Carpenter went the distance throwing a one-hitter with two walks and 10 strikeouts.
Before last year, though, Carpenter hadn’t beaten the Brewers since 2005.
Wolf tangled with Carpenter once during the regular season in 2009, losing 6-1, as a 1.50 road underdog on July 27. Wolf allowed two earned runs on seven hits in six innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
Milwaukee outfielder Jim Edmonds played for St. Louis from 2000-07. He played for the Chicago Cubs in 2008 and was out of baseball last year. Since leaving the Cardinals, the 39-year-old Edmonds is 3-for-29 (.103) against his former club through Friday’s game.