Cardinals’ Weaver looks to end season on a good note

After allowing eight runs over three innings in a 10-2 loss to the Cubs on Monday, Luke Weaver will look to end his 2017 season on a positive note.
Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — For the Milwaukee Brewers, Friday night was your classic good news, bad news situation.

First, the good news: They took care of what they could control, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 to keep alive their slender hopes of earning the National League’s second wild-card spot.

Now, the bad news: Colorado routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-1 in Coors Field to reduce its magic number to one. As in one more Rockies’ win or one more Milwaukee loss and the Brewers’ surprisingly good season ends with the regular season.

“Mathematically, we’re still in it,” said Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson, who picked up his 12th win of the year Friday night with seven brilliant innings.

“We’re just going to play our game. We’ve had a great season here. No one expected us to be in this position.”

The Brewers will try to stay in that position Saturday by defeating St. Louis in Busch Stadium, then hoping that Clayton Kershaw can pitch Los Angeles to a win that would make the 162nd game meaningful.

Milwaukee (85-75) seems to be in a tenuous spot entering its game, though. It will have to win what amounts to a bullpen game as it will start Junior Guerra (1-4, 4.90 ERA), who has made his last seven appearances as a reliever.

Guerra was the Brewers’ Opening Day starter but has fought injuries and inconsistent command all year. He has served two disabled list stints with injuries to his right leg, including one that cut short his first start of the year.

In three career starts against the Cardinals, Guerra is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA, allowing 26 baserunners in 17 innings and three homers.

Then again, if Friday night is any indication, Guerra won’t have to face quite as dangerous a lineup as he did his other three appearances against St. Louis (82-78). The Cardinals only fielded three everyday starters for the series opener.

Catcher Yadier Molina (concussion protocol) and infielder Matt Carpenter (shoulder) were shut down for the year on Friday. Second baseman Kolten Wong (back), third baseman Jedd Gyorko and center fielder Dexter Fowler also had the night off.

Anderson retired 18 of 19 hitters in one stretch as St. Louis was held to three runs or less for the fifth time in seven games. Not surprisingly, the Cardinals, who were eliminated from wild card contention Thursday night, have lost six of seven.

“The breaking ball was working and he didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Anderson. “Just your typical solid outing.”

Luke Weaver (7-2, 3.23) has delivered many of those in the last two months to help keep the Cardinals in contention. He owns two wins over Milwaukee and is 2-1 in four career starts against the Brewers with a 3.00 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 24 innings.

But Weaver’s last start Monday night was his first real clunker of the year. The Chicago Cubs bashed him for eight runs over three innings in a 10-2 defeat, driving his ERA up by more than a full run.