Monday night begins the biggest series of the season for the Cardinals when the Milwaukee Brewers come to town for a 4 game series. If you look at the Wild Card Standings that should tell you just how important the series is. Right now the Cardinals sit one game ahead. If things go unbelievably well they could have the Brewers sitting 5 games back by Thursday evening. That is highly unlikely. When you breakdown the series the key to this series is in the first two games.
The first two pitching matchups are Seth McClung vs. Joel Piniero and Jeff Suppan vs. Kyle Lohse. That is where the Cardinals need to make hay because the final two games are a mismatch for the Cardinals. The matchups on Wednesday and Thursday are CC Sabathia vs. Braden Looper and Ben Sheets vs. Todd Wellemeyer.
As far as the first two games go, the edge should be towards the Cardinals. If Piniero follows form this start should be good. He has been good start, bad start pitcher all season long so hopefully he will bounce back from his bad start from last weekend in Pittsburgh. Game Two puts the Cardinals best pitcher against Jeff Suppan who is coming off the disabled list. You would have to figure that is also advantage Cardinals.
If the Cardinals take the first two games I really do believe that the Brewers will fold up and lose the series and possibly be swept. For whatever reason the Cardinals have the Brewers number and Tony LaRussa is definitely in Brewers manager Ned Yost's head. I present to you the final week of the season last year as evidence. La Russa manages circles around Yost and that will ultimately cost the Brewers their playoff spot if it comes down to the Brewers and Cardinals for the final spot.
My biggest concern for the Cardinals though isn't the series as much as it is the bullpen. As great as the win was today it again showed how frail the bullpen is. Tony can not continue to send Isringhausen out there in the 9th inning. Ryan Franklin is also not the answer. I beg Tony to send Perez or McClellan out there and see what happens. Their results can't be any more dicey then the situation the Cards have right now. I know good closers don't grow on trees but the Cardinals can't continue to stay in the race with the bullpen like it is. Something must change out there.
This series will be very interesting. Just a reminder to fans out there it is an early start on Monday. 6:05 is the start time becuase it will be televised on ESPN.