Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cards, Crew set for rubber match in St. Louis

The Brewers' ongoing effort to find an offensive rhythm continues against the Cardinals' John Lackey on Thursday, when the teams meet for an afternoon series finale at Busch Stadium. While catcher Jonathan Lucroy's slump has garnered most of the notice because of its severity, he's not the Crew's only middle-of-the-order hitter searching for production.
"It's all of us," Lucroy said. "Even [leadoff man Carlos Gomez] is a lot better. 'Brauny' [Ryan Braun], 'Rami' [Aramis Ramirez] hasn't been swinging that well. All of us, when we start clicking together, I think it's going to be nice."
Things to know about this game:
• Still a newbie to the National League, Lackey has faced the Brewers just three times in his 13-year career. Two of those starts came with St. Louis last season, and Milwaukee knocked him around for eight earned runs over 13 innings. Cardinals starting pitchers have opened the season strong, however, with five quality starts in the first six games. The Cardinals had 91 quality starts a year ago, their fifth-highest total since 2000.
• Brewers starter Mike Fiers is coming off a five-run, five-inning loss to the Pirates, but has some brief but positive history on his side for Thursday's start. He is 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA in six career games (four starts) against the Cardinals, including a 1-1 record with a 1.98 ERA in two starts last season and a 1-1 record with a 1.29 ERA in four games (two starts) at Busch Stadium.
• The Cardinals won four of six series finales between the two teams last season, including each of the last three, on the way to beating the Brewers in 12 of 19 matchups.

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