Date/Time: September 22nd, 8:05 PM ET
Probable Starters: Kelly (St. Louis) vs. Peralta (Milwaukee)
Moneyline: Cardinals -150
The NL Central title is there for the taking for the St. Louis Cardinals, but over the course of the last week of the season, they are going to have to beat the MLB betting lines in games just like this one against the Milwaukee Brewers if they want to get the job done.
The Cardinals are two up in the NL Central with just eight games to play coming into Sunday. It’s not a definitive position to be in, but they have to feel good about their chances. A playoff berth can be clinched today with a combination of two wins or Washington Nationals losses (the Nats are playing two after being postponed yesterday). Following wins in four out of five games, they’ll send RHP Joe Kelly to the bump in this one. Kelly is 9-4 with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP this year, but he has done some work out of the St. Louis bullpen this year as well. In his starts, the Cards are a stunningly good 11-3, including when he threw five shutout innings to get the job done against the Colorado Rockies earlier this week. Kelly, at just 25 years old, has the world in front of him, and the Cardinals know that he is going to be an important piece going forward this year. He has 42 walks in 111.2 innings of work, which is probably far too many, and he has almost as many walks (6) as strikeouts (8) in his last three starts combined.
The Brew Crew are just playing out the string, and knowing that this game is on national television has to make it feel like the Super Bowl. Milwaukee has had a rough season, losing 1B Corey Hart for the entire season to injury and OF Ryan Braun for the last third of the season to suspension. On top of that, 3B Aramis Ramirez won’t be playing tonight, nor will 2B Rickie Weeks and SS Jean Segura. That really makes this a tremendously weak lineup, and it makes it so RHP Wily Peralta has to be virtually perfect to get a win. Peralta is just 10-15 on the season, but he hasn’t pitched that poorly for a man that was never expected to be more than a middle of the road starter. He has a 4.34 ERA and 126 strikeouts against 68 walks. The ratio isn’t all that great, but it is still good enough to be a back end starter on a bad team. Peralta has had five straight very good starts though, allowing three runs or fewer in all five. Unfortunately for him, the team has only picked him up for two wins against three defeats.
That said, the Brewers are going to have a fighting chance in this one. If this makeshift lineup can figure out how to piece a thing or two together, it could turn out to be alright. Milwaukee is going to be a sharp, sharp team to back tonight, knowing that it is probably going to win this game at least 45% of the time to make it profitable.
St. Louis Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers Pick: Milwaukee Brewers +142
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.