St. Louis Cardinals
(93-74, NL Wild Card Winner)
(99-68, NL Central Winner)
There are only two teams that are left standing in the National League, and they’re both surprisingly from the NL Central. The Milwaukee Brewers aren’t all that much of a surprise, as they were favored over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the playoffs. But to see the St. Louis Cardinals here is a shock! Check out how we stack up these two divisional rivals as they duke it out in the 2011 NLCS.
Pitching Edge: Neither the Brewers nor the Cardinals have their ace that they can deploy in the first two games of this series. However, that really sets up Yovani Gallardo and Chris Carpenter to pitch a do or die Game 7 if that’s what it comes down to. That bad news for the Cardinals is that there are going to be at least two games that Gallardo and Zack Greinke end up pitching at Miller Park. They’re a combined 23-2 there in 2011, and Greinke has never lost a start in this stadium. St. Louis knows that it is a long time coming for this staff to totally be complete, but for a team that really didn’t have a fantastic core of pitchers, the foursome really did well when push came to shove in the win over the Phillies in the ALDS. The bullpens are severely different, though. The Cards might have a deeper pen, knowing that there are a number of players that can get the job done, but there are really no defined roles for anyone beyond the fact that Jason Motte is the acting closer. Milwaukee has a fantastic combination of 8th inning and 9th inning pitchers in Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford to close out games. Don’t worry about that one gaffe that Axford had in the 9th inning against the Diamondbacks. He’ll get the job done significantly more often than not. Advantage: Milwaukee
Lineup Edge: Are you going to be bold enough to say that a lineup that is anchored by Albert Pujols isn’t the better lineup in this series? Pujols has had some amazing moments over the course of his career, but as much as we love him, he just doesn’t have the better lineup. Ryan Braun is every bit as good as Pujols is at this point of his career, and Pujols doesn’t have Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, Nyjer Morgan, and Prince Fielder surrounding him. The only problem that Milwaukee’s lineup has is that it is a unit that didn’t play all that well on the road this year. If by chance the team slips in Game 1 or Game 2, the offense is going to have to pick it up just a tad to make sure that the series comes back to Miller Park. That being said, this is still the better lineup. Advantage: Milwaukee
Series History: Recent trends really point towards both teams, and it is going to be hard to differentiate the two. The Brewers are going to be favored in at least four of the games in this series, if not more, and they are 46-12 in their last 58 games as favorites, including going 3-1 in the four games in which they were favored against Arizona. The Cards though, are 19-7 in their last 26 games overall. The regular season series this year was interesting to say the least. The Cards won six of the last seven meetings, but they are only 10-9 on the season in the 19 duels between the two. St. Louis isn’t going to be afraid of going on the road in this series, knowing that it swept a series here just a month ago as a part of the push towards the NL Wild Card. Advantage: St. Louis
Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals NLCS Schedule
Game 1 (Sunday): St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Zack Greinke)
Game 2 (Monday): St. Louis Cardinals (Edwin Jackson) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Shaun Marcum)
Game 3 (Wednesday): Milwaukee Brewers (Yovani Gallardo) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Chris Carpenter)
Game 4 (Thursday): Milwaukee Brewers (Randy Wolf) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Kyle Lohse)
Game 5 (Friday, if nec): Milwaukee Brewers (Zack Greinke) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia)
Game 6 (Sunday, if nec): St. Louis Cardinals (Edwin Jackson) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Shaun Marcum)
Game 7 (Monday, if nec): St. Louis Cardinals (Chris Carpenter) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Yovani Gallardo)
Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick: This is going to be a brutal series to try to make MLB picks in, knowing that we’re dealing with a team on fire against a team that can do no wrong at home but nothing right on the road. That being said, there’s no reason to think that this series won’t be a heck of a lot like the NLDS for these two teams… close as could be going into Game 7. That being said, the Brew Crew were as good as it gets at home, and they’ll finally be able to snuff out the Cards’ luck in the decisive game.
MLB Playoffs Pick: Milwaukee Brewers in 7 Games
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.