Lean ‘Under’ in Game 1 of Brewers-Cardinals Doubleheader Tuesday

Matthew Jordan

Monday, June 12, 2017 9:34 PM UTC

Monday, Jun. 12, 2017 9:34 PM UTC

The St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers play a day-night doubleheader Tuesday from Busch Stadium, with the early game (2:15 p.m. ET) a makeup of one rained out May 3. It’s the only matinee on the schedule.

MLB Season Record: 20-15

Milwaukee Brewers At St. Louis Cardinals (-144, 8.5)

It’s the first of a four-game series thanks to a makeup game Tuesday afternoon (from May 3) in the first of a day-night doubleheader as the Cardinals host the NL Central-leading Brewers. First pitch is at 2:15 p.m. ET and on the MLB Network.

No doubt the Cardinals (29-32) were thrilled that they were off Monday because they ended a stretch of 20 games in 20 days on Sunday. In fact, they will play 47 games in 48 days leading into the All-Star break. St. Louis has won a season-high five straight games at Busch Stadium following a 6-5 victory over the Phillies on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

It could be that Manager Mike Matheny is in some trouble if the Cards don’t get above .500 soon and stay there. GM John Mozeliak shook things up late last week, reassigning third-base coach Chris Maloney within the organization and moving Mike Shildt from quality control coach to the third-base coach box. Bill Mueller took a recent leave of absence, and he will not return as assistant hitting coach. Mark Budaska will take over in that role. In addition, former starting shortstop/third baseman Jhonny Peralta was designated for assignment. He’s in the final year of a four-year, $53 million contract but was injury-prone and not hitting in 2017.

The Cardinals were one of the best offensive teams in baseball last year but rank just 26th in runs.  Matheny recently moved Matt Carpenter to the leadoff spot and Dexter Fowler from there to No. 2. Fowler had a go-ahead three-run homer Sunday and Carpenter has a hit in five straight games so maybe it’s working. Carpenter is still only batting .223 but has been the victim of some bad luck with a career-worst .245 BABIP despite a career-high 43.3% hard-hit rate.

Monitor the status of Cards All-Star catcher Yadier Molina. He hasn’t played since Thursday due to back issue. Molina says it’s not serious and expects to play Tuesday, but the Cards aren’t going to let him catch both games of the doubleheader.

The Brewers (33-31) have lost three of four and their starters aren’t going deep into games, which is affecting the bullpen. That group’s ERA is 4.48, which is 20th, and it leads the majors with 18 losses. Milwaukee’s bullpen already has logged 231 innings, the second-most in the majors.

St. Louis is 4-3 vs. Milwaukee in 2017. Kolten Wong is hitting .478 against Brewers pitching with seven RBIs. Jedd Gyorko is 11-for-25 with three homers and four RBIs.  Fowler is just 2-for-20 with nine strikeouts. For the Brewers, Travis Shaw is 10-for-28 vs. the Cards with two homers and 10 RBIs. Eric Thames is 5-for-27 with nine strikeouts.


Tuesday’s Game 1 Probable Pitchers

The Brewers go with right-hander Jimmy Nelson (4-3, 3.45). He is working on a string of three straight quality starts and has totaled 27 strikeouts and just one walk in them. Only one other Milwaukee pitcher has ever had as many strikeouts and as few walks over any three-start span: Ben Sheets in September 2004 (28 K, 1 BB).

Nelson lost at home to St. Louis on April 23, giving up four runs and five hits over 5.1 innings with by far a season-high six walks. Nelson led the NL in walks last season with 86 when he struggled to an 8-16 mark. He has been much better this year, walking more than two in just one other start. Carpenter hits him well, going 8-for-18 with two homers. Fowler is 5-for-21 with two homers but 11 strikeouts. Wong is 7-for-21 with a homer.

The Cardinals’ Lance Lynn (4-3, 2.88) hasn’t won since May 5 despite the fact he’s eighth in the NL in ERA and WHIP (1.06). Lynn has allowed more than two earned just once in his past five, but they were all Cardinals losses thanks to little run support. He’s getting 4.25 runs per game, which is 52nd in the majors. Nelson is getting only 3.92. Lynn beat the Brewers in Milwaukee on April 22, allowing one run and three hits over six innings. No Milwaukee batter has had much career success against him.


Reasoning For Pick

Lynn is 9-3 with a 2.31 ERA in 19 career appearances against the Brewers and has given up just one run over his past three starts against them. In 10 of his 15 starts overall against Milwaukee, he has held the Brew Crew to one run or less with three scoreless outings. The ‘under’ is 5-1 in Lynn’s past six vs. St. Louis. The early start time will benefit the pitchers, and a regular or two on each side figures to sit out Game 1 to play in Game 2. Thus ‘under’ is my MLB pick.

Free MLB Pick: ‘Under’ 8.5 (-110)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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