MLB St. Louis at Milwaukee

MLB St. Louis at Milwaukee

Is it really possible for a team four games below .500 with six and a half weeks to go in the season really win a division title? If you are the defending World Series champions of baseball playing in the worst division in the major leagues, you have to b


2007-08-16

Is it really possible for a team four games below .500 with six and a half weeks to go in the season really win a division title? If you are the defending World Series champions of baseball playing in the worst division in the major leagues, you have to believe you still have a chance.

The St. Louis Cardinals have had more injuries this year after being crowned baseball's best than Joan Rivers facelifts. Manager Tony LaRussa knows his team has no business being in a pennant race with 56-60 record and being outscored by 76 runs on the season, yet here they are thanks to Milwaukee's collapse just three games out of first place after pulverizing the Brewers 12-4 last night.

Contributions are coming from the usual suspects and a host of unlikely sources. Albert Pujols was on his way to career low numbers earlier in the year, yet he steadfastly kept swinging the bat and is now hitting like what everyone is used to seeing. Banjo hitters, David Eckstein and So Taguchi are right around .300 on the season with on base percentages around .350. Even Jim Edmonds is showing signs of life with several multi-hit games of late. The fairy tale story of Rick Ankiel has breathed further life into St. Louis. After a season of much doom and gloom, his remarkable comeback and perseverance is a movie of the week waiting to happen.

While St. Louis is only 24th in runs scored, one aspect that has kept them afloat is a bullpen that doesn't lose many games. The Cards pen has 21-8 record and has captured 79.3 percent of save attempts. They have just six blown saves on the season, meaning if the Cardinals have a lead late; it's unlikely the opposing team will comeback.

None of this would be possible unless Milwaukee wasn't 9-17 since July 18. One of the main cogs of the pitching staff Ben Sheets went down yet again, thus moving every starter up one position of which they have unequipped to do so. This placed greater burden on a bullpen that is showing signs of wearing down top to bottom. The once nightly contributions from the young Brewers bats have turned into like a department store worker, where you get help sometimes.

St. Louis reaches down into pitching wasteland and gives Joel Pineiro (1-1, 3.00) a third consecutive start. His first start is what you would expect from him based on career numbers; however his last time out he tossed seven shutout innings on just four hits against San Diego. Nevertheless, he and the Redbirds are a +130 underdog at Sportsbook.com against Yovani Gallardo (4-2, 4.20) and Milwaukee.

Much like the season has unfolded, it's not that St. Louis is making a great pennant push; it's more like the Brewers are coming back to the pack. Milwaukee is 7-15 (-10.9 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a losing record and 5-12 vs. teams outscored by the opposition by 0.5 or more runs a game in the second half of this season. To the Cardinals credit they are 36-21 against the ML when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last two years.

MLB.TV will broadcast this NL Central showdown starting at 8:05 Eastern and XM 187 is the place to dial it up on the radio. The Betting Trends page is the ideal spot to go with or against the MLB wagering crowd with loads of useful information.

StatFox Power Line Milwaukee -161


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