(Jack Flaherty photo courtesy Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.
Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.
When and Where: Saturday, Sept. 14, Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Mo., 7:15 p.m. EDT.
Jack Flaherty looks to extend an impressive string of dominant outings Saturday night and avenge his only loss since the All-Star break as the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals continue their series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Lyles also delivering for Brewers to keep them in playoff race
There was little beyond a collective shrug when the Brewers re-acquired Jordan Lyles (10-8, 4.38 ERA) before the trade deadline for the second straight year, but the right-hander has answered the bell to help keep Milwaukee in both the wild-card race and contention for the NL Central title.
Lyles, who already has set a career-high in wins, is looking to extend his personal winning streak to four while notching his sixth victory in seven decisions. Despite his recent run of success, manager Craig Counsell had a quick hook Monday in Miami, pulling Lyles after 4 1-3 innings and 77 pitches despite limiting the Marlins to one run in Milwaukee’s 8-3 victory.
The righty has gone 2-1 with a 4.85 ERA in three starts against the Cardinals overall on the season, but the best one came with the Brewers on Aug. 28 when a solo homer by Kolten Wong was his only mistake over 5 1-3 innings of a 4-1 victory.
Lyles is 2-4 with a 4.71 ERA in seven career starts versus St. Louis and has gone 1-2 with a 4.44 ERA in four starts at Busch Stadium. While Wong is 4 for 14 against Lyles with two doubles to go with that homer, Paul Goldschmidt has teed off on the righty with 12 hits in 26 at-bats (.462) and taking him deep twice.
Flaherty riding 18-inning shutout streak for Cards
The Brewers are the only team to defeat Flaherty (10-7, 2.99) since the All-Star break, with the right-hander 6-1 with a barely-there 0.76 ERA over his last 11 starts.
Flaherty has not conceded a run since Keston Hiura took him deep while losing to Lyles and carries an 18-inning shutout streak into this contest. He stifled both the San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates in winning back-to-back starts and scattered five hits in eight innings while matching a season-high with 10 strikeouts in a 2-0 road win Sunday.
“Guys with that talent, but also that kind of real dedication to their craft — and he’s clearly had this for a long time, displayed it in the organization — it just grows,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt told the club’s official website about the 23-year-old. “He just continues to take advantage of opportunities and get better, and here’s what we see.”
The right-hander has labored against the Brewers this year, going 1-2 with a 7.11 ERA in four starts and serving up seven homers in 19 innings. Three of those starts came in the first month of the season, though. Flaherty got his win April 22 despite giving up three gopher balls and yielding four in six innings of a 13-5 victory.
Ryan Braun has been able to consistently barrel up Flaherty, going 7 for 14 with three homers and a pair of doubles.
The Cardinals are:
- 9-1 in their last 10 during game 2 of a series.
- 4-1 in Flaherty’s last five starts vs. NL Central teams.
- 7-1 in Flaherty’s last eight starts on five days of rest.
The Brewers are:
- 4-10 in their last 14 road games vs. above-.500 teams.
- 1-6 in their last seven road games vs. the Cardinals.
- 2-9 in their last 11 games vs. the Cardinals.
Cardinals -1.5 runs (Even)
A pick of riding the hot hand and expecting a cold dish of revenge to be served in St. Louis, Flaherty and the Cardinals are the pick. They have had Milwaukee’s number since a three-game home sweep in late April and are showing staying power atop the NL Central.
But this is mainly about Flaherty, who has given up just three earned runs since the start of August and has a 0.50 ERA over his last eight starts. He has held teams to 4.17 hits per nine innings in that run while striking out 65 in 54 innings.
Goldschmidt to have RBI (+108)
Taking Goldschmidt to hit a home run at +300 is not a bad play either, but after he hit two home runs in Friday night’s win, it may take him an at-bat or two to recharge — the RBI is the better and safer play.
Goldschmidt has pounded Brewers pitchers for eight homers this season while driving in 20 runs and going 21 for 66 (.318). That’s in addition to his stellar numbers versus Lyles and a cottage industry bashing Milwaukee pitching with 18 homers and a .352 average in 63 career games.
UNDER 7.5 runs (-105)
The expectation is for a strong-armed Lyles to match Flaherty early and set the tone for this game before Flaherty finds his next gear and keeps the Brewers in check. The under is 6-3 in the last nine meetings between the teams and 4-2 in the last six at Busch Stadium.
Flaherty’s run has also helped the under trend strongly, going 10-1-2 in his last 13 starts and 5-0-1 in his last six matchups with division rivals. The under is on a six-game run with the Brewers in the second game of a series and delivered in six of their last seven Saturday games.
Cardinals 3-way ML first 5 innings (-131)
Offering a slightly better return than laying the half-run at -140, Flaherty’s form and the momentum from Friday night’s 10-0 romp make the Cardinals the pick. St. Louis has led at the midway point in six of Flaherty’s last eight starts (6-1-1), with the loss to Lyles the lone exception.
UNDER 4 runs first 5 innings (-115)
Flaherty and Lyles pitched to four runs in the first five innings of their matchup in Milwaukee, and while the under is the lean, it is low enough to avoid going overly aggressive. The five-inning under has gone 9-2 in Flaherty’s last 11 starts and in two of Lyles’ three starts versus St. Louis on the season.
UNDER 0.5 runs/NO 1st inning run (-115)
Milwaukee’s first-inning run vs Flaherty was one of only two he has conceded over his last 11 starts, and the right-hander has a tidy 1.55 ERA in the opening frame on the season, giving up six runs in 29 starts. Lyles has gotten through the first inning without yielding a run in eight starts since joining the Brewers.