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On Monday night, the beginning of a four-game series between the Milwaukee Brewers (84-65) and the St. Louis Cardinals (66-83) could decide many things. For the Brewers, they can take one giant forward in securing an NL Playoff spot and the NL Central Divisional title. For the Cardinals, it could be the nail in the coffin for their postseason hopes.
The Brewers aren't the most effective batting team this season, but they are reliable at scoring runs in the first inning. Milwaukee ranks 10th in the league in runs accounted for in the first inning (0.55).
The batting team of the Cardinals is the biggest reason why the team is still alive for the postseason. The Cardinals are ranked 11th in the league in runs scored in the first inning (0.54).
The Cardinals are likely going to start slow against Milwaukee's starting pitcher Freddy Peralta (3.79 ERA in 156.2 innings pitched). Milwaukee is more likely going to score in the first inning against St. Louis' terrible starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (7.95 ERA in 94 innings pitched). They could, however, start slow to conserve their energy for the final series in the regular season.
The Baltimore Orioles (93-56) have just their first postseason trip since 2016. The Houston Astros (84-66) are in a three-team battle for the AL West Divisional title with the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners, with a likely chance that the remaining two teams could secure a wildcard spot.
Baltimore and Houston are two of the most effective batting teams in the league. If there is a team in this matchup that can get on the board early often, it is the Astros. Houston is ranked third in the league in runs scored in the first inning (0.67).
The Astros are also going into this game with the better pitching matchup. The Astros are going with Justin Verlander (3.86 ERA in 49 innings pitched), while the Orioles are going with John Means (5.40 ERA in 5.0 innings pitched). Look for the Astros to take advantage of a less-established pitcher early in this game.
The Seattle Mariners (81-68) look to finish the 2023 MLB Season strong with an AL Playoff spot and the AL West Divisional title on the line. The good news for the Mariners is they will have three road games against the Oakland Athletics (46-103).
Seattle could get off to a hot start as they will look for a solid momentum in the first inning. The Mariners are eighth in the league in runs accounted for in the first inning (0.58).
The Mariners will also have the edge in the pitching game over the Athletics. Bryan Woo (4.16 ERA in 75.2 innings pitched) is set to be the starting pitcher for the Mariners, while the Athletics are going with their ace pitcher JP Sears (4.45 ERA in 157.2 innings pitched).
The Mariners have nine of the ten games over the Athletics and have averaged 5.0 runs this season. Look for them to use this game and series against Oakland as an example of their input early in games for the remaining weeks.
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Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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