In the Series preview, I advocated both a series bet on Milwaukee and to bet the ‘over’ on Game 1. We’ll take a look at the lines for Game 2 and consider how the Cardinals need to adjust if they want to make this a series.
Moneyline: MIL -134, STL +124
SP: MIL -Shaun Marcum; STL- Edwin Jackson
Brewers Lead Series 1-0
Tonight’s game could be considered a ‘must-win’ for the Cardinals. While going down 0-2 might not spell complete doom, a road win must occur for the Cards to win this series and Edwin Jackson was presented to be one of the keys to the series in my Series preview. Jackson posted 4 Ks and only allowed 5 hits in 6 innings of work in a 5-3 win over the Phillies in Game four of the Cardinals series against Philly.
The Cardinals are hoping for a repeat performance from their #4 starter in this game, though Milwaukee’s home dominance must be considered. As I wrote, the Brewers did end up eclipsing the 7.5 total all by themselves last game, and I quite nealry expect the same for this game, though the total is set one full run higher than it was for Game one. Jackson has only recorded one quality start in his last seven starts, with the last occuring in a 3-2 win over the Cubs on September 25th.
Perhaps even more troubling, Jackson gave up 14 hits and 10 runs on August 3rd to the Brewers at Miller Park. His next two starts went far better, though, as he went 1-0- with a 2.08 ERA. He has also had success against the hot hitting Braun, who is only 2 of 10 on Jackson this season, while his .667 average at home in this post season is a bit more disconcerting for Jackson and the rest of the Cardinals’ staff.
In Braun’s career against the Cardinals, he is hitting .306 with 15 homers in 301 career at bats. His two-run double in the fifth inning of last night’s game helped spark the Brewers comeback, and Prince Fielder and Yuniskey Betancourt both homered, as Jaime Garcia allowed only his second multiple homer game of the entire season (34 starts).
The Brewers still have yet to lose at Miller Park this post season, where they won a league high 57 home games during the regular season.
For the Cardinals to make waves in this series, though, they are going to have to get a bigger contribution from former MVP Albert Pujols. He is 8 of 24 in the post season, but has only one RBI and his ground out double play killed the momentum of a 7th inning drive.
Pujols realized the missed opportunity, saying that “(If) You throw me that pitch, seven out of ten times…I put it in the seats…You’re going to get opportunities, and hopefully I can come through.” For the Cards to have any chance in this series, Pujols will have to come through.
To attempt to counter Pujols and the Cards, Milwaukee will send righty Shaun Marcum to the mound. In game 2 against the Diamondbacks, Marcum walked three and gave up seven runs in only 4.2 IP, as the Brewers lost 8-1. Marcum usually gets the run support, but giving up 8 runs against any team gives the Brewers offense more than even they can chew off on a regular basis. Moreover, in Marcum’s last six starts at home, his ERA has been a cumulative 5.84. He said “you go through stretches…and through years…where you have better road numbers and not so good home numbers.” Still, if he gives up seven runs again, he is asking for a lot of run support.
Truly, as most expected, the Cardinals hopes must lie in better pitching. Giving up 9 runs as they did in game 1 isn’t going to help win a lot of games, even when they are scoring six a game themselves. The total of 15 last game should make this 8.5 total for tonight’s game an easy ‘over’ for bettors seeking action in this series. The moneyline is less attractive given the odds, but the Brewers should emerge victorious once again and put immense pressure on the Cards as the series shifts to Saint Louis.
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