Two NL Central rivals will kickoff their final series of the 2020 season here as the St. Louis Cardinals host the Milwaukee Brewers. Corbin Burnes will start for Milwaukee, while breakout star Kwang-Hyun Kim takes the mound for the Cardinals. Oddsmakers have the Brewers as a slight favorite for this one, which will be televised by ESPN+.
Brewers Cutting It CloseThings sure are coming down to the wire for the Milwaukee Brewers. They've been picking it up recently after a very slow start and entered Wednesday at an even 27-27. They're battling for those last couple of wild card spots, and ESPN's calculator gave them a 68 percent chance of making the playoffs. For this absolutely pivotal series opener, Milwaukee will send out Corbin Burnes to the mound. Burnes has been a revelation this season, entering with a 1.77 ERA through 11 appearances and eight starts. He's still only 25, so he could be a building block for many years to come. He's been nearly untouchable recently, giving up just one earned run across his last five starts.
In his last five outings combined, the Brewers have beaten opponents by an aggregate score of 42-5. He has a whopping 83 strikeouts in 56 innings, with at least seven punch-outs in each of his last six starts. The Brewers also have a very solid bullpen, so Milwaukee shouldn't run into too much trouble after he leaves the game. The offense has also been picking it up recently, and it's only a matter of time before former MVP Christian Yelich gets back to being his old self. In the meantime, guys like Ryan Braun are picking up the slack, as Braun is hitting .340 with a 1.117 OPS in the month of September.
Cardinals Need This One TooTheir situation isn't quite as urgent, but the St. Louis Cardinals aren't out of the woods yet and need this game almost as badly. At 27-25 entering Wednesday, ESPN gives them around an 87 percent chance of making the postseason. It's been a weird season for every team, but especially the Cards as they had more games postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks than anybody. Overall, they've done a pretty good job managing the storm, but I'm wondering if they'll just be worn down from all the doubleheaders down the stretch as fatigue sets in.
St. Louis has won five of their last six games, but they were against the lowly Pirates and Royals. Right before that when the schedule was a little tougher they had struggled, losing seven of their previous ten. For this crucial game, they'll go with 32-year-old Korean rookie Kwang-Hyun Kim. Kim has been great during his first season in the major leagues, entering this one with a 1.59 ERA through seven appearances and six starts. That being said he did get roughed up in his most recent outing, giving up four earned runs and a couple of homers to a pitiful Pittsburgh lineup. Their own offense has mostly struggled this season as they've only scored 219 runs on the year, the third-lowest total in the majors.
- 3-7 in their last 10 games as a home underdog
- 0-4 in their last 4 during game 1 of a series
- 5-1 in their last 6 overall
- 16-5 in their last 21 games vs. a left-handed starter
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Brewers a lot here. Burnes has been one of the best pitchers in the bigs this season, and he's been absolutely dominant in his last handful of starts. Kim got roughed up in his most recent outing, giving up four earned runs to the lowly Pirates. Milwaukee hits southpaws like Kim well, as they're 16-5 in their last 21 games against lefties. The Cards just beat up on the Pirates and Royals, but they looked pretty bad right before that. Their offense has been extremely lackluster, so there's no way I could back them against a pitcher who's on Burnes' level right now.
Full-Game Total Pick
The under also makes a lot of sense here. Both offenses have been disappointments this year, and both starting pitchers have ERAs below two. Burnes has been the best pitcher in the league over the past month or so, incredibly giving up only one earned run across his last five starts. This is an extremely important game between two division rivals with massive playoff implications, so I think it'll be especially hard-fought and low scoring. Expect both lineups to be a bit tight, and since we've got two solid bullpens here as well, I don't see too many runs in the cards.