By: Austin Moehn (@austin_moehn22)
(Odds via Bovada)
Moneyline: STL: (+102) | MIL: (-112)
Spread: STL: +1.5 (-210) | MIL: -1.5 (+175)
Total: 7.5 Over: (+105) | Under: (-125)
First Pitch: 6:40pm CST | American Family Field | Milwaukee, WI
The top two teams in the NL Central are set to square off for the second time this season as the red hot St. Louis Cardinals come to Milwaukee trying to avenge their series loss back in early April, where the Brewers took two out of three. The Brewers are looking to break the recent cold streak losing six of their last eight while also trying to close the gap on the leading divisional Cardinals, who lead the Crew by two games. We got a good pitching matchup for the opener in this one as the Brewers will send out Freddy Peralta (3-1 3.38 ERA) while the Cardinals give Kwang-Hyun Kim (1-0 3.06 ERA) the start.
Milwaukee Brewers (19-16)
Since winning three out of four against the Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers have been struggling as they dropped four games to the Phillies and were barely able to notch out a series win against the Marlins. As a team, the Brewers didn’t play on their seven-game road trip this past week. The pitching staff has still performed relatively well, but the defensive problems and inability to get hits have been the biggest downfalls recently. In the past seven games, the lineup is averaging a .215 batting average and an OPS of only .625. Most of this limited offensive production has come from Avasil Garcia, who has been raking lately with an OPS of 1.224 in his last seven. Daniel Vogelbach and Lorenzo Cain have also been solid lately, but other than the three I just mentioned, the lineup has been mightily struggling.
Freddie Peralta gets the ball for Milwaukee as he attempts to bounce back from his first loss of the season. Peralta only went four innings against the Phillies, allowing five runs, but Peralta was excellent in his previous six starts. Freddie has a decnet track record against St. Louis in his career, but this could be a little misleading as he’s shown huge improvements so far in 2021. Paul DeJong and Paul Goldschmidt have had success facing Peralta in the past as they’ve combined for seven hits in fifteen at-bats while also hitting three home runs. It will be interesting to see who wins the pitcher vs. batter matchups because Goldschmidt and DeJong have shown an ability to mash off Peralta, but the Brewers starter has looked like a much better pitcher, so far in 2021. The DeJong and Goldschmidt at-bats will be a crucial factor in how this game gets decided.
St. Louis Cardinals (21-14)
St. Louis has been one of the hottest teams in baseball the past two weeks as they’ve won nine out of eleven and are coming off a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. The pitching staff has been on during this eleven-game span and are coming into Milwaukee riding high as they’ve pitched shutouts in two of their last three. However, while the pitching staff has been doing their job, the offense has been raking. In their past seven games, the Cardinals are batting .273 with a slugging of .444. The heart of the lineup with Arenado and Goldschmidt has been doing well all year, but the past week has seen Tommy Edman, Dylan Carlson, and Harrison Bader get hot, with the trio seeing the ball well. This emergence of St. Louis’s young core is a very positive sign for the future, and for the time being, the Cards look to try making a run for the NL Pennant. As I mentioned before, Paul DeJong and Paul Goldschmidt have mashed off Peralta, but other than those two, the team hasn’t had too much experience facing the Brewers starter.
Kwang-Hyun Kim is a stud that nobody talks about. Since making his debut in July of 2020, Kim has been a force in the Cards rotation, notching a 4-0 record in twelve career appearances with an ERA of 2.06. Kim has been solid so far this season, but he hasn’t been able to work deep into games. The former Korean Baseball Organization star looks for his first quality start of the season against the struggling Milwaukee offense. Kim has had a small but good sample size vs. the Brewers with twelve career innings pitched and allowing only one run. The current Brewers roster doesn’t have a ton of experience against Kim, and I think that Kwang-Hyun Kim is in line for his first quality start of 2021.
Final Analysis & Best Bet
There are a few possible ways that this game can play out. The Brewers or Cardinals could either get going early and blow the other team out of the water, but this isn’t likely, in my opinion. With this type of pitching matchup, the most likely outcome is a close lower scoring game with no clear edge on which team has the advantage here. Since coming over from the KBO, Kim has been a stud, and Peralta has made strides in his game this season. This pitching matchup has pitchers dual written all over it, so my best bet here is the under 4 runs through the first five innings (-125). This is a low O/U, but I’m going to side with the thought process of Kim shutting down the Brewers offense as they continue to struggle and Peralta getting back to pitching as he did in his first six starts. The push is also in play here, so this bet seems lower risk/higher reward in this spot compared to the full game options. I’m liking the starters in this matchup to get out and dominate right from the start.
Austin’s MLB 2021 picks 8-4 (+$335 on $100 bets)