From Tuesday, May 11 at 6:40 p.m. CT through Thursday, May 13 at 12:40 p.m. CT, the St. Louis Cardinals will face the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field for a three-game series. The Cardinals just capped a successful homestand with a Rockies sweep where they went 5-2 overall and propelled the Brewers to the top spot in National League Central. On the flip side, the Brewers are returning home from a tough road trip where they were swept in four games by the Phillies, picking up two wins in their last two games against the Marlins to go 2-5. The Brewers are hoping to turn things around against the Cardinals and with a sweep could end up in first place. Should be fun!
I delayed talking about Tommy Edman, but I think the time has come to mention the current National League hits leader (41 hits). The Cardinals have appeared in 35 games and Edman has appeared top of the line-up in all of them for good reason – his .348 OBP is third on the squad behind Yadier Molina and Dylan Carlson (players with more than 20 appearances). at the plateau) and his 10.3% take-off rate is the team’s lowest and fifth-lowest in the majors. His ability to be on base combined with his smart baserunning – he leads the team in stolen bases with 4 and has by far the team’s most BsRs at 1.7 – makes him an ideal starting hitter, a role that he has been very successful so far.
Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff
I will group these two pitchers together for brevity. Depending on which resource you are looking at, one is the Brewers’ most valuable player and the other is the second best. Both have a lower 2.00 ERA with Woodruff, whom the Cardinals face Wednesday, at 1.73 and Burnes at even lower at 1.53. Burnes has been on the COVID injured list and hasn’t launched since April 26, but he is expected to join the Brewers this week. No starter is listed for Thursday’s game, but according to Brew Crew Ball that part of the rotation would belong to Burnes. According to at the Fangraphs Burnes was even more impressive than his ERA suggests with his PIF at just 0.51. His strikeout percentage in just over 29 innings is 45.4% and he doesn’t have a batter yet.
Both pitchers launch a similar arsenal with one main difference that I find interesting. Woodruff throws a more traditional five-step board, mostly throwing a 4-seam fastball (around 96 mph), a lead as secondary ground, then mixing his shift, slider, and curveball. His curve was particularly successful: in 75 pitches, no hitter had a hit. Left handed hitters can expect to see this or the change in the pitching count.
The interesting thing about Corbin Burnes is that he throws a cutter more than 50% of the time, mixing his lead, changeup, slider, and curveball each about 10% of the time, and threw a fastball at 4. only six seams. It’s a bit of a change from his shortened 2020 pandemic season, where he threw the knife and lead in roughly the same amount. 2021 is his first real full season in the rotation, so it’s hard to say if this is an adjustment as opposed to how he would prefer to pitch, but I tend to think he intentionally increased his use of knives. His cutter is not only his best field, but it is one of the most valuable fields in baseball. Through Baseball scholar, the Corbin Burnes cutter has a run value of -6, which places it in the top 30 locations by that measure. For context, there are places like Yu Darvish’s Cursor or a John Means Change. It is one of the most valuable cutterss in the game (a big reason being because of how often he throws it – on a rate basis, Kenley Jansen would be most valuable).
The Brewers’ best player was receiver Omar NarvÃ¡rez. He leads the team with 168 wRC + and cuts .368 / .443 / .529 while removing just 12.7% and playing a very good defense behind home plate (4 defensive points saved so far), and I will skip talking about him and move on to Kolten Wong, the second best player. Wong signed with the Brewers in free agency after eight seasons with the Cardinals and hasn’t missed a beat. He has 109 wRC + which is on par with his highs from the previous season and brings his helpless and basic defensive skills to the table. Tommy Edman has been great for the Cardinals in his place, but I miss seeing Kolten making plays like this:
My dog ââCain
The not so good
Lorenzo Cain (chance of)
Lorenzo Cain had an below average start to the season and there is no really obvious reason for me. It continued its trend from 2020 and is walking more than ever before. His sprint speed is in the 89th Percentile Batting. Its exit speed is an average of 88.6 mph. For some reason, his batting average on in-game balls is only 0.167, however. Is this just bad luck or is there something else to this? I am not sure.
I mentioned Paul Goldschmidt in a previous preview and since then things seem to be improving. He has a 132 WRC + over those seven games, an 8-27 record with one walk and two home runs. In the 26 games before he had an 82 WRC + and three homers. It is difficult to say if this improvement is actually Something or just a small sample size noise, but hopefully Goldy will knock it down.
During the season, Paul DeJong had a more difficult test than Goldschmidt. He is currently aiming for a 91 wRC +. Although he has an ISO of .203, leading the Cardinals with 7 home runs, and hitting 23.1% of the time, near his career low, and walking 11.2% of the time, which would be a high in career, he’s batting average. on in-game balls of .188. Digging deeper, DeJong appears to be in the 8th percentile of exit speed at 86 mph, which would be the lowest of his career. For context, Goldschmidt is in the top 7% of the league in exit speed at 92.9 mph. DeJong’s launch angle is also 14.4, which is the lowest of his career. I’m not sure if it all has to do with anything, but it’s just something that stands out, at least for me. You can interpret this however you want.
Christian Yelich (back)
Christ Yelich is not “not very good” as much as he has a back injury and has only played 10 games all season. In those games he has been very good, but he only played on May 3 and so far had not played since April 11.
When these two teams meet anything can happen, especially in a park like Milwaukee, especially when Central’s top spot is on the line. My game to watch is Tommy Edman vs. Corbin Burnes, if Burnes starts Thursday as I suspect. . Burnes throws 50% of knives, but the Edman switch cutter has always hit the strawberry (he hits most shots well, but hits the cutter most systematically). Perhaps the Cardinals point guard could wreak havoc on goals in front of the heavy hitters.
Game 1 – May 11, 6:40 p.m. CT – Kwang Hyun Kim vs. Freddy Peralta
Game 2 – May 12, 6:40 p.m. CT – John Gant vs. Brandon Woodruff
Game 3 – May 13, 12:40 p.m. CT – Jack Flaherty vs. TBD