After being eliminated from the race for the National League’s second wild-card berth with Saturday’s loss, the Milwaukee Brewers figure to be a quiet crew when they face the host St. Louis Cardinals in Sunday’s season finale. The Brewers entered Saturday’s play two games back of Colorado but saw their postseason hopes end when the Cardinals scored three times in the eighth inning and held on for a 7-6 victory.
Ryan Braun snapped out of a 1-for-20 slump with an RBI double in the third inning and Domingo Santana belted a two-run homer to put Milwaukee ahead 6-0 in the third, but St. Louis rallied against reliever Anthony Swarzak and the Brewers were unable to answer in the ninth against Cardinals closer Juan Nicasio. Several regulars from both teams are expected to sit out Sunday’s contest, but Milwaukee first baseman Eric Thames said he intends to play despite fouling a pitch off his right foot in Saturday’s game. The Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday and have already shut down several starters, including infielder Matt Carpenter and catcher Yadier Molina, who has been in the concussion protocol since last Monday. St. Louis infielders Kolten Wong (back) and Jedd Gyorko (hamstring) could also skip the season finale for precautionary reasons.
TV: 3:15 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Aaron Wilkerson (0-0, 8.10 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Jack Flaherty (0-1, 6.06)
With the Brewers out of contention, Wilkerson is getting the start in place of Zach Davies, who finishes the season with a 17-9 record and 3.90 ERA. The 28-year-old Wilkerson made his first career start on Sept. 21 against Pittsburgh, receiving a no-decision after allowing three runs over 2 1/3 innings. The Texas native was promoted to the majors earlier this month after going 11-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 24 starts for Double-A Biloxi.
Flaherty is moving from the bullpen to start in place of Carlos Martinez, who was scratched after the Brewers were eliminated Saturday. The 21-year-old Flaherty made four starts before being moved the bullpen, going 0-1 with a 6.46 ERA over 15 1/3 innings. A native of Los Angeles, Flaherty was impressive at two levels in the minors this season, going a combined 14-4 with a 2.18 ERA at Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis.
1. Santana’s 30th home run gave the Brewers three players with at least 30 for only the second time in club history, including Thames (31) and Travis Shaw (31).
2. Cardinals RHP Alex Reyes (Tommy John surgery) threw a bullpen session Friday and hopes to be ready for spring training.
3. The Brewers are 1-54 when trailing after seven innings.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 8, Brewers 5