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Brewers, Cards Meet In Rubber Match

John Lackey will make his St. Louis debut on Sunday.

John Lackey will make his St. Louis debut on Sunday.

Division rivals meet Sunday as the St. Louis Cardinals host the Milwaukee Brewers in the rubber match of a three-game set in the Gateway City.

First pitch at Busch Stadium is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. ET.

With the trade deadline in the rear view mirror, attention in baseball switches firmly to the postseason race. Both the Cardinals and Brewers are looking to secure one of the five National League berths.

20140802_NL_CentralMilwaukee (61-50, 31-24 road) continues to lead the NL Central, thanks in part to that unexpected hot start to the season. But the Wisconsin side can feel the heat as no fewer than three division rivals are looking to close the gap at the top of the standings.

St. Louis (58-51, 30-24 home) is one of those sides. Heading into play on Sunday, the Red Birds are just two games back of the division-leading Brewers. Mike Matheny’s side can close that gap to one game with a head-to-head win on Sunday afternoon.

Milwaukee began this current three-game set with a 7-4 victory on Friday night.

St. Louis bounced back on Saturday, getting a strong performance from the recently acquired Justin Masterson, eventually winning the game 9-7.

The Cardinals will turn to another new acquisition on Sunday as John Lackey (11-7, 3.60 ERA) takes to the mound for his first game as a National League pitcher.

With the defending champion Boston Red Sox estimating that their season was over, Lackey was packaged to St. Louis ahead of the trade deadline. The Cardinals hope his experience and proven talent will benefit their rotation.

Lackey had a decent season in Boston. However, he has gone 3-3 with a 5.56 ERA in his last six starts. Both he and the Cardinals will be hoping for better as he makes his debut appearance at Busch Stadium.

  • Lackey is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 1 game (1 start) vs. the Milwaukee Brewers
  • Lackey is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 0 games (0 starts) at Busch Stadium

Milwaukee will counter with Matt Garza (7-7, 3.74 ERA), another alumnus of the AL East.

Garza has had an inconsistent first year with the Brewers, although his pitching at times has been superior to his record. Since June 13, the right-hander is 3-3 with a 2.83 ERA.

Last time out, the 30-year-old allowed just one run on five hits through seven innings of a road game against the Tampa Bay Rays. He left the game with a no decision, and the Brewers subsequently lost 5-1.

Garza’s career record against the Cardinals is something bettors will want to keep in mind before laying any money down.

  • Garza is 3-3 with a 4.81 ERA in 9 games (9 starts) vs. the St. Louis Cardinals
  • Garza is 0-2 with a 9.56 ERA in 4 games (4 starts) at Busch Stadium

Cardinals’ outfielder Jon Jay (wrist) is currently listed as day-to-day. The club continues to play without catcher Yadier Molina (thumb), with A.J. Pierzynski – another new recruit – currently spelling him behind the plate.

Milwaukee outfielder Khris Davis (calf) is listed as day-to-day, while shortstop Jeff Bianchi (elbow) remains on the 15-day DL.

Matt Garza will look to shrug off a poor record against the Cardinals.

Matt Garza will look to shrug off a poor record against the Cardinals.

Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals odds for 08/01/2014

Playing at home, St. Louis (-126) opened as the favorite over Milwaukee (+116) on the moneyline and continues to be the preferred choice with bettors.

The Cardinals are 6-5 against the Brewers this season, but just 2-4 when the two sides face each other at Busch Stadium.

Some other trends to consider:

  • Milwaukee is 23-20 in day games
  • St. Louis is 24-18 in day games
  • Milwaukee is 26-20 vs. NL Central opponents
  • St. Louis is 26-19 vs. NL Central opponents
  • Milwaukee is 43-40 vs. right-handed pitching
  • St. Louis is 46-36 vs. right-handed pitching
  • Milwaukee is 1-1 since August 1
  • St. Louis is 1-1 since August 1
  • Milwaukee is 8-7 since the All-Star break
  • St. Louis is 6-7 since the All-Star break

The total opened at and remains at 7 1/2.

The total has gone over in eight straight meetings between the division rivals, including five straight at Busch Stadium. With both pitchers displaying a somewhat inflated ERA – at least by NL standards – the over certainly looks like the smart bet.


After Sunday’s finale in St. Louis, the Brewers return to Milwaukee to begin a six-game homestand, starting with a visit from the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.

The Cardinals will stay in St. Louis to host the Boston Red Sox in an interleague matchup (Tue-Thu).


For a full list of today’s Major League Baseball odds, click here.

For MLB Futures odds, courtesy of Bovada, click here.

For team prop bets, click here.

For player prop bets, click here.

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