With four games remaining in the regular season, the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals will play a doubleheader on Friday. Milwaukee will be the home team for the first game of the twin bill, even though the game will be played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Due to the expanded playoff format, the second-place team in each division and the next two best records in the National League will qualify for the postseason. Currently, the Cardinals are tied with the Cincinnati Reds for second in the NL Central, while the Brewers are only one game back. As the 2020 season enters the final weekend, it is still very possible that six teams could end up tied for the last four spots in the National League, making this a critical series for both teams.
**This preview was made before Milwaukee and St. Louis played on Thursday. ***
On the season, the Brewers hold a 3-2 edge in the season series.
Flaherty looking avenge his worst start of the seasonThe Cardinals head into Friday with a 27-26 record overall. The Cardinals offense has been underwhelming this season, ranking dead-last with 48 home runs. St. Louis is 13th in league with a .326 on-base percentage and 24th with 4.2 runs scored per game. Paul Goldschmidt leads the club with a .306 batting average and .424 on-base percentage while also hitting six home runs and 19 RBI. Brad Miller leads the team with seven home runs and 25 RBI on the season.
Pitching and defense have been the keys to the Cardinals success. St. Louis is 10th in MLB with a 4.04 ERA and the best team in baseball with 32 defensive runs saved on the year.
24-year old Jack Flaherty will get the start in the first game on Friday. He is 4-2 on the season with a 4.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 44:12 strikeout to walk ratio. Against the Brewers, Flaherty has struggled, posting a 2-5 record with a 5.75 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 11 career starts. Flaherty last faced the Brewers 10 days ago and gave up nine runs in just three innings in what lead to an 18-3 Cardinals loss. Flaherty did have a strong bounce-back performance in his last outing, holding the Pirates to only two hits and one run over six innings, while recording 11 strikeouts in a 2-1 Cardinals win last Sunday.
Brewers hope to turn average season into postseasonDespite a very average season all around, the Milwaukee Brewers have a 27-28 record and a chance to qualify for the postseason as they head into their final weekend of games against St. Louis. The offense has been underwhelming this season, ranking 25 with a .225 batting average and 21st, scoring 4.3 runs per game. The defense is also 20th with negative three runs saved this season. Keston Hiura has been the team's standout offensive performer, with a team-leading 13 home runs and 32 RBI, despite only having a .211 batting average. The 2018 National League MVP Christian Yelich has 11 home runs and 21 RBI on the season, but has underperformed overall and is only hitting .210, but does have a .350 OBP.
Jed Gyorko has performed well, batting .272 with nine home runs in just 103 at-bats this season.
Josh Lindblom, a 33-year-old right-hander, will get the start in the opening game. He is 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA and 1.23 WHIP on the season. Lindblom faced the Cardinals once this season on Sept. 14, and threw five shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks while recording six strikeouts in a 2-1 Cardinals win, in a doubleheader game that went seven innings. Lindblom pitched in the KBO is Korea that last two seasons. In 2019, he posted a 20-3 record and 2.50 ERA, receiving the KBO Most Valuable Player award as a member of the Doosan Bears.
- Brewers are 4-0 in their last 4 Friday games.
- Cardinals are 0-4 in Flahertys last 4 starts during game 2 of a series.