Brewers vs. Cardinals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Freddy Peralta Starts Opposite Jack Flaherty (Wednesday, August 18)

Brewers vs. Cardinals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Freddy Peralta Starts Opposite Jack Flaherty (Wednesday, August 18) article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Freddy Peralta and Jack Flaherty

Brewers vs. Cardinals Odds

Brewers Odds -125
Cardinals Odds -105
Over/Under 7 (-110 / -110)
Time 7:45 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Wednesday afternoon and via DraftKings.

We’ll be in for a treat on Wednesday as two of the hottest teams in all of baseball send their best pitchers to the hill with playoff positioning on the line.

Milwaukee is firmly positioned to make the postseason, sitting 8.5 games clear of the Reds in the NL Central and 11 games ahead of the Cardinals, while St. Louis is knocking on the door of a wild-card spot.

Is the total the play here, or does one of these stud pitchers have an edge? Let’s take a look at the matchup below.

Peralta Has Reached The Next Level

The Brewers have won seven of their last 10 games, and over the past couple of weeks can lay claim to one of the best offenses in the sport. They’ve posted a 125 wRC+ to rank fourth in that span along with a microscopic 17.8% strikeout rate, and despite a relatively low hard-hit rate still own a beefy .216 ISO. It’s been very difficult getting these guys out with their uber-aggressive approach at the plate, swinging almost 50% of the time and carrying a high 77.7% contact rate into this one.

It’s been equally as tough to get runs off of Freddy Peralta, who is turning into an absolute stud. His strikeout upside is incredible on a nightly basis, punching out 17 over his last two starts, spanning 11 1/3 innings. On top of that, he’s held opposing teams to just a 5.2% barrel rate and has allowed just 10 homers on the year.

With Peralta striking out a bundle of hitters and dominating in almost every metric and peripheral category, the Brewers almost always have a crack at it when he takes the ball. Peralta’s ERA in four second-half starts is 1.69, and that could easily plummet even further considering his only start against the Cardinals this year saw him go seven scoreless innings, allowing two baserunners and striking out eight.

Cardinals Have Been Flying High

The Cardinals will indeed be up against it when they step into the box against Peralta, but lately things have gone swimmingly for this offense. St. Louis stands 12th over the last 14 days with a .778 OPS, though it continues to have issues with the punchout. St. Louis has struck out more than 22% of the time in the second half, and it sits at 21.4% over the last two weeks. For as many big nights and timely hits as there have been, it really hasn’t been a sustained level from this team. There has been more good than bad, which is the reason the OPS is where it is.

It’s also one of the reasons why the Cardinals have won eight of 10. That run is also due in large part to the team’s pitching staff, which has posted a 2.66 FIP over the last 14 days. Wednesday’s starter, Jack Flaherty, can lay claim to one start within that span. He returned from injury last week to face the Royals and allowed just two hits over six scoreless frames.

While Flaherty’s numbers have continued to shine in his fourth season, there are some concerns here. His 4.39 xERA throws cold water on his 2.65 ERA, his 7.3% walk rate is still an issue and he’s allowed a career-high 39.8% hard-hit rate with a .397 xwOBA on contact. Though the results have been there, those numbers tell the story of a pitcher who’s gone through some tough times this season and been a little fortunate.

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Brewers-Cardinals Pick

The one thing Flaherty still does very well is rack up strikeouts, doing so at a 26.3% pace this year. The punchout has bailed him out of many a sticky situation, but he might not be as fortunate on Wednesday night.

The Brewers haven’t struck out very much lately, ranking in the bottom five of the league over the last couple of weeks, and as mentioned above have been getting the bat on the ball a whole lot. Contact is the enemy of Flaherty with the way his peripherals look.

The Brewers are a great deal here, especially with Peralta going against a lineup with some holes. I’ll lay the -125.

Pick: Brewers ML (-125)

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