Cardinals aim to clinch postseason berth vs. Brewers

MLB Baseball

The St. Louis Cardinals will try to clinch their berth in the National League wild card game when they host the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.

The Cardinals (87-69) carry a team-record 16-game winning streak into their three-game series with the Brewers at Busch Stadium. They lead the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies by six games for the second wild-card slot and their magic number to reach postseason play is one.

On July 16 the Cardinals were just 44-47. Since then, they have gone 43-22.

“We never feel like we’re out of the game, and I think when you look at the entirety of the season … I think we played good baseball, we just had to put all phases together,” Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizer said. “We’re really locked in. We’re playing all the way through the ninth inning, until the last pitch.”

The Brewers (94-62) clinched the NL Central title Sunday. They will be the No. 2 NL playoff seed with the home-field advantage over the NL East winner in their Division Series.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell can use the final week of the season to reset his pitching for postseason play.

“I think we’re in a good spot,” Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns told MLB.com “I think Craig and the staff have done a tremendous job of managing workload all year. It’s been a lot of fun. Our pitchers have done a good job of communicating with us, letting us know how they feel. We’ve got a week now to reset, regroup, and then we’ll be ready to go.”

The Cardinals will start right-hander Adam Wainwright (16-7, 3.05 ERA) as they go for the playoff clinch. He struggled in his start last week against the Brewers while allowing five runs on four hits, including two Tyrone Taylor homers, and two walks.

He is 1-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts against the Brewers this season and 19-12 with a 2.59 ERA in 48 career outings against them, including 41 starts.

Avisail Garcia (4-for-10), Kolten Wong (3-for-7, two doubles, one RBI), Omar Narvaez (4-for-13, double, two RBIs) and Luis Urias (2-for-6) have hit Wainwright well in their careers while Jackie Bradley Jr. (0-for-6), Jace Peterson (1-for-14), Willy Adames (1-for-8) and Daniel Vogelbach (1-for-7) have not.

The Brewers will start righty Brandon Woodruff (9-10, 2.52 ERA) on Tuesday. He held the Cardinals to one run on two hits while striking out 10 batters in his start against them last week.

He is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts against the Cardinals this season and 3-3 with a 3.09 ERA in nine career outings against them, including seven starts.

Woodruff has had success against Dylan Carlson (0-for-8, four strikeouts), Matt Carpenter (1-for-12), Yadier Molina (3-for-17), Paul DeJong (3-for-17) and Harrison Bader (2-for-11, five strikeouts).

With the postseason fate determined, the Brewers must guard against complacency. They suffered a four-game, home-field sweep against the Cardinals last week.

“I think the edge is already there,” Wong said. “We know we just got spanked by the Cardinals. But now it’s about getting everybody healthy, getting everybody right and making sure that when we get into the playoffs everyone’s ready to go.”

–Field Level Media

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