The St. Louis Cardinals are recovering from a putrid start and look to post their fourth consecutive victory when they open a four-game series at the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday. The Cardinals turned their fortunes around with three consecutive 2-1 victories in a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates after opening the campaign with nine losses in 12 games.
Center fielder Dexter Fowler was just 8-for-56 with zero RBIs through the first 14 games but he supplied all the offense on Wednesday with two solo homers in the series-ending victory over the Pirates. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough, especially when you’re battling out there and you’re not getting what you want and we’re losing and the whole nine,” Fowler told reporters afterward, “but at the end of the day, it’s a game and you’ve just got to keep that in perspective.” Milwaukee dropped its last two games and Wednesday’s 7-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs was particularly painful as the Brewers allowed four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning - the final three on Addison Russell’s homer. The opener begins a stretch of 10 straight home games for Milwaukee, which is just 2-5 at Miller Park.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN Wisconsin Plus (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (0-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Zach Davies (0-2, 8.79)
Martinez is coming off an odd outing in which he struck out 11, walked a career-high eight and allowed three runs (two earned) and four hits over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the New York Yankees. The 25-year-old issued just one total walk in his first two starts to further compound the uneven performance. Martinez excelled against Milwaukee last season with a 3-0 mark and 1.38 ERA in four starts and has limited the Brewers to a .223 average in 19 career appearances (eight starts).
Davies struggled through his first three starts with a 2.02 WHIP while allowing opponents to bat a collective .344. The 24-year-old has yet to pitch more than five innings and his best outing was his last, when he gave up three runs and five hits in five innings in a no-decision against the Cincinnati Reds. Davies is 1-0 with a 1.66 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals but has been torched by third baseman Jedd Gyorko (5-for-8, one homer).
1. The Cardinals are 61-30 against the Brewers since the beginning of the 2012 season.
2. Milwaukee 3B Travis Shaw has homered in back-to-back games and three of the last four.
3. St. Louis 1B Matt Carpenter (right hand) went 1-for-4 on Wednesday after missing the previous two games.
PREDICTION: Brewers 6, Cardinals 5