Preview: Brewers at Cardinals
ST. LOUIS — While the Milwaukee Brewers are negotiating one of their toughest stretches of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals are seeking any kind of traction in a place that has suddenly turned cruel.
When the teams start a three-game weekend series Friday night in Busch Stadium, Milwaukee will try to reverse its recent trend of losing to St. Louis while the Cardinals will attempt to reverse a stunning streak of futility.
Thursday night’s 4-2 loss to Kansas City marked St. Louis’ seventh straight home defeat, its longest streak of that kind since Aug. 2-15 of 1983, and dropped its record to 15-23 at home. Last year, the Cardinals didn’t lose their 23rd home game until Sept. 7.
A major factor in St. Louis’ inability to win when wearing white uniforms has been its defense, or the lack of it. The Cardinals made three errors in each of their two losses to the Royals and have been charged with an major-league-high 62 errors, leading to 28 unearned runs.
By contrast, last year’s 100-win team that captured the NL Central title committed only 96 errors and gave up just 47 unearned runs.
"It’s a surprise to all of us," outfielder/first baseman Brandon Moss said. "We’ve got a lot of guys who are all defensively sound. It’s just one of those things that happens.
"You want to play well in front of your home fans. You want to give them a reason to get excited. For some reason, we’re not playing our best games here. I think over the course of the season, it will even out."
Based on past history, St. Louis (40-38) may have an ideal foil to help make a course correction. The Brewers (35-43) are only 13-23 on the road and have lost 10 of 15, including an 8-1 decision Thursday to the Los Angeles Dodgers that wrapped up a 3-3 homestand.
Milwaukee kicks off a six-game road trip with this series and is in the middle of a stretch where it plays 26 of 28 games against teams with winning records.
"We’ve been in this stretch against these teams that are at the top of the league," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We’re battling."
Milwaukee turns to veteran right-hander Matt Garza (1-0, 2.81) to start the trip. Garza is 4-4 with a 4.07 earned run average in 12 career starts against the Cardinals, and is coming off a win Saturday against Washington.
Garza will have to be cognizant of St. Louis third baseman Jhonny Peralta, who is 17-of-37 in his career against the right-hander with two homers and five RBIs.
The Cardinals will counter with left-hander Jaime Garcia (5-6, 4.09). Garcia, who had a no-decision in Sunday’s11-6 win at Seattle, is 10-5 in 19 career outings against the Brewers, tied for his most wins against any opponent.
St. Louis will start Adam Wainwright (6-5, 5.04) opposite Jimmy Nelson (5-6, 3.60) on Saturday. Michael Wacha (4-7, 4.42) goes against Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson (4-8, 5.45) in Sunday’s series finale.