Cardinals-Brewers Preview

A seemingly favorable schedule combined with a key injury to an

NL Central rival may be just what the St. Louis Cardinals need to

gain ground in the standings.

After sparking a ninth-inning rally, Matt Holliday looks to

continue his hot stretch at the plate and help the Cardinals

maintain their dominance of the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday

night.

St. Louis (47-43) is third in the Central and 3 1-2 games behind

first-place Cincinnati, which lost All-Star first baseman Joey

Votto for at least three weeks with a knee injury Monday.

That could present the Cardinals with a chance to close in on

first place, and a series against Milwaukee (42-47) may improve

their odds.

St. Louis has won 15 of 20 against the Brewers, taking last

year’s NL championship series in six games. They have won eight of

10 at Miller Park, averaging 7.1 runs while batting .298 with 19

homers.

The Cardinals continued that success against the Brewers with a

3-2 victory Monday, scoring three times in the ninth off closer

John Axford.

Holliday triggered the comeback with a tying two-run single and

Allen Craig followed by driving in the go-ahead run after St. Louis

was swept in three straight at Cincinnati over the weekend.

“We have to hit like we are capable of,” Holliday said. “We’ve

got to start playing well and beating the teams in our division and

playing better.”

Holliday is doing his part, hitting .439 with 12 doubles and 24

RBIs in his last 25 games. The six-time All-Star has a team

season-high 15-game hitting streak and is 10 for 30 with six RBIs

in his last seven visits to Miller Park, including three during the

NLCS.

The Cardinals are scheduled to turn to Joe Kelly (1-1, 2.70

ERA), who hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his six

starts since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis last month.

The rookie right-hander struggled with his command early in his

most recent outing July 8 before the Cardinals rallied with three

runs in the ninth to beat Miami 5-4. He threw 10 of his first 18

pitches for balls before settling down and allowing one unearned

run and two hits with a season-high five walks in six innings.

Monday’s loss was another setback for the Brewers, who announced

earlier in the day that Zack Greinke will skip his scheduled start

Wednesday and isn’t scheduled to pitch again until July 24 at

Philadelphia.

The Brewers are scheduled to give the ball to Randy Wolf (2-6,

5.80), who hasn’t won since beating San Diego on April 30. He’s 0-4

with a 5.42 ERA in 13 games – 12 starts – since that victory.

The left-hander has been particularly bad over his last four

starts, compiling an 8.34 ERA while yielding seven homers in 22 2-3

innings.

Wolf’s most recent appearance came out of the bullpen July 7,

when he allowed one run and three hits in two innings at

Houston.

He’s won four of his last six starts against St. Louis behind a

4.15 ERA, including a road victory in Game 4 of last year’s

NLCS.