The St. Louis Cardinals will carry a three-game winning streak into their home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.
The Cardinals outscored the Miami Marlins 15-3 while sweeping their three-game road series this week. The Brewers also have momentum after winning two of three road games against the Chicago Cubs.
Both teams will be looking to generate more offense during this three-game series.
Tyler O’Neill (3-for-24, 12 strikeouts this season), Paul DeJong (3-for-20), Justin Williams (1-for-12), Matt Carpenter (0-for-8) and Austin Dean (0-for-7) have struggled for the Cardinals.
Rookie outfielder Dylan Carlson, on the other hand, has three hits in 19 at bats — all homers — and his nine RBIs lead the team. He iced Wednesday’s game with a grand slam.
“He’s a guy that has a lot of ability, clearly,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said after the game. “I love the confidence, the quiet confidence. He knows he’s a good player. It’s about figuring out on a consistent basis, trusting a little bit. He’s been really aggressive.”
Among Brewers who are struggling are Keston Hiura (0-for-19, 10 strikeouts, no walks), Jackie Bradley Jr. (1-for-16, seven strikeouts, no walks), Luis Urias (2-for-18, eight strikeouts) and Kolten Wong (2-for-16).
On the plus side, Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain had two homers and four RBIs Wednesday during the 4-2 victory over the Cubs in 10 innings. He is regaining his stroke after opting out of last season due to COVID-19 concerns.
“I’m still not where I want to be as far as my timing,” Cain said after the game. “I’m still trying to get to my old form.”
The Cardinals will start Adam Wainwright (0-1, 20.25 ERA) on Thursday. In his first start, he allowed six runs in just 2 2/3 innings during a 9-6 road loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
“Sometimes you put a little bit of bad mojo out there,” Wainwright said. “I think that must have been what happened, because that was some weird stuff, man.”
Last season, Wainwright was 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in two starts against the Brewers. He is 18-11 with a 2.50 ERA in 44 career appearances (37 starts) against them.
The Brewers will counter with Corbin Burnes (0-1, 1.42). He struck out 11 batters in 6 1/3 innings in his first start of the season, a 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins. He allowed just one hit — a home run to Byron Buxton.
“Corbin pitched beautifully,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s going to have a really good season if he has games like that and he’s throwing the ball like that.”
Burnes was 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals last season. In seven career appearances against them, including four starts, he is 1-2 with a 6.41 ERA.
Wong will be making his return to St. Louis after playing second base for eight seasons with the Cardinals. He signed as a free agent in Milwaukee after the Cardinals didn’t pick up his contract option for 2021.
“Whenever you kind of get let go from an organization or anything, it kind of leaves that impression in your mind that you know how good you are and they probably thought you weren’t good enough,” Wong said.
“It’s definitely something that’s going to be in the back of my head every single time I go back, and give me that little extra motivation to play a little harder and do a little more.”
–Field Level Media