The Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals will continue their preparations for postseason play when they close their three-game series Thursday.
The host Cardinals (88-70) won the series opener 6-2 Tuesday to run their winning streak to 17 games and clinch their spot in the National League wild-card game.
The Brewers (95-63), who clinched the NL Central title Sunday, won 4-0 Wednesday to snap that Cardinals streak.
Milwaukee will start left-hander Brett Anderson (4-9, 4.30 ERA), who is coming off a rough start against the Cardinals. He allowed six runs (two earned) on six hits in a 10-2 loss on Sept. 22.
“The goal is to come in and hopefully have some clean innings and feel good about the next one, but obviously that wasn’t the case,” Anderson said. “Hard contact, soft contact — it all seemed to find holes, gaps or what not. That’s kind of how this series has been going. The Cardinals have obviously been playing really well in all facets of the game, and we haven’t been.”
Anderson is 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA against the Cardinals this season and 2-4 with a 3.49 ERA in six career starts against them.
Paul Goldschmidt (12-for-23, two doubles, two homers, seven RBIs), Nolan Arenado (9-for-20, double, two homers, six RBIs), Tommy Edman (3-for-8, two RBIs), Tyler O’Neill (2-for-4, double, homer, three RBIs and Harrison Bader (2-for-4, triple) have hit Anderson well.
The Cardinals will start J.A. Happ (9-8, 5.86 ERA). He threw four scoreless innings in his last start, working around four walks and two hits against the Chicago Cubs.
He is 4-2 with a 3.97 ERA in 10 starts since coming to the Cardinals in a trade with the Minnesota Twins.
His improvement, Happ told Bally Sports Midwest Wednesday, has come through “pitch sequence and the confidence in those pitches. When I came here for my first start as a Cardinal on, I just tried to have a fresh start and start over. Trusting (Yadier Molina) and (Andrew Knizner) is a big part of that, I think. Just new scenery, new teammates that have been welcoming from Day One. It’s been fun.”
This will be Happ’s first start against the Brewers this season. He is 3-5 with a 6.25 ERA in 12 career outings against them, including 11 starts.
Lorenzo Cain (7-for-12, double, homer, six RBIs), Avisail Garcia (6-for-16, double, two homers, four RBIs) and Kolten Wong (2-for-4) hit Happ well while Jackie Bradley Jr, (4-for-28, 10 strikeouts) and Willy Adames (1-for-8) have struggled against him.
On the injury front, the Brewers lost key reliever Devin Williams to an off-field injury. He said he broke his pitching hand while punching a wall in anger.
“I’m pretty upset with myself,” Williams said Wednesday. “There’s no one to blame but me,” he said. “I feel like I’ve let my team down, our coaching staff, our fans, everyone. I know how important of a role I play on this team, and a lot of people count on me.”
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (sore shoulder) and shortstop Edmundo Sosa (bruised wrist) missed the first two games of this series and they are questionable for the finale.
–Field Level Media