Tuesday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Cardinals vs. Brewers: Hammer This Pitching Mismatch (Sept. 21)
Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Woodruff
- The Cardinals are underdogs on Tuesday despite entering on a nine-game winning streak.
- They'll face a tough test with youngster Jake Woodford on the mound against Milwaukee ace Brandon Woodruff.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting prediction.
Cardinals vs. Brewers Odds
|Time||7:40 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The St. Louis Cardinals have pulled their usual black magic and have found themselves up three games over their division rival, the Cincinnati Reds, for the second Wild Card, as of Monday afternoon.
The Milwaukee Brewers have clinched a playoff berth and are very likely the number-two seed in the National League, thanks to their elite rotation. Brandon Woodruff is one of those key arms, and he will start in this contest. 24-year-old Jake Woodford will counter him for the Cardinals on the mound.
There is a large discrepancy in the talent between these two arms, so are the Brewers the correct play here?
St. Louis Cardinals
Entering Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals have won eight games in a row. Jake Woodford has transitioned from bullpen arm to the rotation and has a 2.03 ERA in the month of September. He likely won’t go more than four or five innings, so the Cardinals bullpen is crucial in this pairing.
Woodford primarily features a sinker and a four-seamer, but the Brewers do have a .361 xwOBA on sinkers against righties since August 1st. They also hammer four-seamers at a .355 xwOBA and have a 90.5 average exit velocity with those same qualifications.
When limiting the velocity of both of those pitchers to between 91 MPH and 93 MPH (or how hard Woodford throws), they own a .393 xwOBA. Best of luck to Woodford here because Milwaukee seems pretty set on crushing his primary pitches.
The St. Louis lineup has been somehow underwhelming since the beginning of September, even with their slingshot into the second Wild Card spot. They only have a 97 wRC+ as a team against right-handers this month.
Tyler O’Neill, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Arenado have been their best featured bats lately, and all three are above 135 wRC+ when facing righties in September. That said, the Cardinals only have three OBPs over the .320 mark in that same timeframe. This indicates a fairly top-heavy team facing an ace like Woodruff.
Finally, the Cardinals’ bullpen has been phenomenal this month. They are third in fWAR and have a 3.41 ERA, although this is slightly lucky with a 4.04 xFIP accompanying it. Genesis Cabrera and Kodi Whitley have a 0.00 ERA in the bullpen this month. Having this backup to the rotation helps.
Giovanny Gallegos has probably seen the unluckiest of innings with his 5.19 ERA and 0.6 fWAR this month. That said, many of these arms will come back to earth, but this is a main contributor for why the Cardinals find themselves in the playoffs at the moment.
Brandon Woodruff has been about as consistent as any starting pitcher. His peripherals are all encouraging, even with a 5.25 ERA this month. Even though he throws similar primary pitches to Woodford (sinker and four-seamer), he ranks in the 94th percentile in velocity.
On fastballs between 95 and 97 MPH from a righty, the Cardinals only have a .289 xwOBA since August 1. That number is .297 in September, so they basically have not been able to defeat a pitcher of Woodruff’s caliber, even on their hot streak.
The Milwaukee lineup has actually been similar to St. Louis’s against right-handers this month. Avisaíl García has been incredible, and they have five other bats eclipsing the 100 wRC+ mark. They have four batters over .350 OBP. Since Milwaukee does not have to face Brandon Woodruff, they get an automatic edge.
Finally, the Milwaukee bullpen has been subpar in September, but they have an xFIP right around that of the St. Louis bullpen, meaning they have been unlucky. Hunter Strickland and Josh Hader still have not allowed any runs this month, and Aaron Ashby is right with them.
Devin Williams and Jake Cousins have been reliable all season but have faltered as of late, so this is bringing their collective numbers down. That said, this is an edge for St. Louis only if Woodruff does not go deep into this game.
The starting pitcher matchup in this game has too wide of a discrepancy. as Woodruff’s strengths negate any competitive edge the Cardinals would have.
He is not even close to Vince Velasquez and Jake Arrieta, whom the Cardinals got to face last weekend. Give the edge to the Brewers.
Since their hitting has not been elite lately, take their adjusted spread at -1 (-150) and play to -1 (-175).
Pick: Milwaukee Brewers -1 (-150), play to -1 (-175)