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Friday’s MLB schedule includes a key game in the NL Central between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers are favored on the heels of a five-game winning streak while St. Louis has lost three in a row.
Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff has a strong track record against many prominent St. Louis hitters.
Brewers to Win
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The highlight of Friday’s MLB schedule figures to be a rivalry game in the NL Central between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers. These are the two main contenders in the NL Central this year with Friday being the first of 13 head-to-head games between the Cards and Brewers.
The Brewers head into this three-game series with a ton of momentum. In Milwaukee’s last game, Garrett Mitchell hit a walk-off home run to complete a three-game sweep of the Mets. That victory gave the Brewers five straight wins, putting them atop the NL Central standings a week into the season. They now hope that Brandon Woodruff can keep it going and lead them to a sixth straight win on Friday night.
Meanwhile, the defending NL Central champion Cardinals haven’t had the start to their 2023 that they expected. St. Louis heads to Milwaukee this weekend after getting swept by the Braves at home earlier this week. The Cards were outscored 17-7 over those three games, so they were completely out-classed by Atlanta. The silver lining for the 2-4 Cardinals is that Jack Flaherty, the winning pitcher in one of their two victories, will get the ball on Friday with a chance to prevent the team’s losing streak from continuing.
However, oddsmakers are favoring the Brewers to stay hot in Friday’s series opener. Milwaukee’s moneyline is listed at -130 whereas the Cardinals have a moneyline of +110 as the underdogs. There is also an over/under of 8.5 runs in this game.
The Cardinals struggled to push runs across the board throughout their series with the Braves despite facing the back half of Atlanta’s rotation. The hits have been there, they just haven’t come at the right time. That could continue to be a problem on Friday against Woodruff. Several key members of the St. Louis lineup have had profound struggles against the Milwaukee ace throughout their careers. For example, Nolan Arenado, Dylan Carlson, and Willson Contreras are a combined 6 for 51 (.118) against Woodruff. The Cardinals have been further weakened with Paul DeJong and Lars Nootbaar on the IL.
The best chance for St. Louis to win is another strong performance from Flaherty. Multiple injuries have held him back over the next couple of seasons, although Flaherty tossed five shutout innings against the Blue Jays in his first start of the season. Despite not allowing a hit against Toronto’s potent lineup, Flaherty walked seven and hit a batter, so he was far from perfect. However, Flaherty was able to work his way out of trouble, showing how good he can be if he can avoid hurting himself with walks.
The Milwaukee offense has been red-hot at the start of the season. Despite getting shut out in their season opener, the Brewers have scored at least seven runs in four straight games. In fact, Milwaukee’s power was off the charts during the team’s three-game sweep of the Mets. Both Mitchell and Brian Anderson have hit three home runs early in the season with Anderson also batting .500 with an OPS of 1.621. Younger players like Brice Turang and Joey Wiemer have also provided an unexpected offensive spark for the Brewers. At the same time, key left-handed hitters Christian Yelich and Jesse Winker are a combined 15 for 44 (.349) with four homes and four doubles in their careers against Flaherty.
Meanwhile, the Brewers have every reason to be confident with Woodruff on the mound. He looked sharp against the Cubs in his first start of the season, allowing one run on three hits over six innings. Woodruff also struck out eight in that game, hitting the ground running in 2023. Also, when he faced the Cardinals last September, he struck out 10 over six scoreless innings, which explains why he has such good career numbers against several St. Louis hitters. As long as that continues on Friday, Woodruff should be the catalyst in a Milwaukee win on Friday.
Milwaukee’s last four games have all ended with at least nine runs being scored. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have seen two of their last four games end with at least 12 runs. Those trends point toward a high-scoring game on Friday. Obviously, Woodruff’s numbers against the Cardinals in his career could lead to a pitcher’s duel. But the Cardinals should manage a few runs in this game, even in a losing effort. At the same time, Milwaukee’s red-hot lineup combined with Flaherty’s control issues in his first start could give the Brewers a lot of scoring opportunities in this game, helping to push the run total beyond 8.5 runs.
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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