Friday: Kyle Lohse (0-0, -) vs. Dave Bush (0-0, -)
Since coming over to the Cardinals, Lohse has pitched effectively. In his two seasons in St. Louis, his K:BB ratio is better than 2:1. While Lohse is not an overpower, strikeout pitcher, he has been able to keep his walks down. In his Cardinal tenure, he has thrown 337.2 innings and walked just 85 batters. That equates to a 2.26 BB/9. If there is one thing Dave Duncan has been able to do, it's teach control.
Anyone who reads this blog know how big a fan of Dave Bush I am. Now that Bush's injury plagued 2009 is in the past, I am expecting a big season. When on his game, Bush can be one of the better pitchers in the National League. The main thing to look for in tonight's start is the home run ball. Over the past two seasons, Bush surrendered an astonishing 1.5 HR/9. The Cardinals feature a tough 3-4 duo in Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. Both are capable of feeding off Bush's longball troubles. If he is able to keep the ball in the park, the Brewers should have the advantage.
Saturday: Chris Carpenter (1-0, 3.00) vs. Yovani Gallardo (0-1, 3.86)
Carpenter was back at in on Opening Day against the Reds. He pitched a very impressive six innings in Cincinnati, striking out three and not walking a batter. It's that kind of control that lead to his 2009 NL Cy Young award. What makes Carpenter such a good pitcher is not only his K and BB. He is also incredible at keeping the ball on the ground. Last season he post a near 2:1 groundball to flyball ratio. He is arguably the best pitcher in the National League.
On Monday, Gallardo surely didn't have his best stuff. However, Gallardo was able to pitch a pretty good game. He allowed four runs (three earned), over seven innings of work. He walked just two, despite battling with his command all day and was able to fan five batters. When Yo is on his game, he can pitch with the best. This will be his first start since signing a 5-year extension yesterday. Runs should be tough to come by in this one, but with the way Carpenter pitched last season, I'm giving the edge to the Cardinals by the slightest margin. Hopefully we get a repeat of last season's 1-0 win with the same starters.
Sunday: Jaime Garcia (0-0, -) vs. Randy Wolf (1-0, 5.40)
This is a huge break for the Brewers. Manager Tony La Russa is pushing back Adam Wainwright so he can start opening day in St. Louis, so Garcia gets the nod. He will be making his first appearance in the majors since 2008 and just his second big league start. Garcia shouldn't be taken lightly however. He has shown decent control and strikeout numbers throughout the minors. Even though, Brewers fans should be thanking La Russa for this one.
Wolf is the pitcher I am most looking forward to this weekend. I was there on Tuesday and was very impressed with what I saw. Wolf fanned eight batters without surrendering a walk over 6.2 innings. Sure he gave up four runs, but his command was hopefully a sign of things to come. If he pitches anything like he did on Tuesday, the Brewers should be able to win the final game of the series.
On paper, this looks like a very winnable series for the Brewers. Clearly, the Cardinals are the favorite to win the NL Central, so it's important to win these games at home. So much emphasis is put on late season meetings, but these games are just as important.