Posted May 01, 2013 on AP on Fox
The St. Louis Cardinals already quieted the bats of the Milwaukee Brewers in one series this season. With a starting rotation that continues to roll along with strong performances, they'll try to do it again. Jake Westbrook will take the ball Thursday night for the opener of a four-game set at Miller Park. St. Louis took two of three from the Brewers in St. Louis from April 12-14, shutting them out twice in the process. Cardinals starters posted a 1.29 ERA over those three games and come in looking more than capable of producing similar results. Their starters' ERA is at 1.32 over the last nine. Lance Lynn turned in the latest gem, throwing seven innings of one-run ball in St. Louis' 4-2 win over Cincinnati on Wednesday. "The starting pitching has been a constant for us and he's helped lead the way," manager Mike Matheny said. "You can't ask the starters to do more than they've done." Westbrook (1-1, 0.98 ERA) hasn't been charged with an earned run in three of his four starts, including his six shutout innings against Pittsburgh on Saturday as he scattered six hits without a walk. His bid for a second victory was squandered by St. Louis' relievers, which gave up five runs in three innings. "I felt like I was throwing the ball pretty well. I had a good sinker," said Westbrook, who is 2-4 with a 3.06 ERA in eight career starts versus Milwaukee. "I was able to get some early outs and I stayed out of trouble for the most part." While the starters for the Cardinals (16-11) have sparkled, the Brewers (14-12) were again let down by their bullpen Wednesday. John Axford was the primary culprit in a late collapse as he was charged with four runs in the eighth inning of a 6-4 loss to the Pirates. It was the Brewers' fifth blown save and the second for Axford, snapping Milwaukee's eight-game home winning streak and foiling its bid for a sweep of Pittsburgh. Manager Ron Roenicke removed Axford (0-3, 10.32 ERA) as the team's closer after three rough appearances to start the year, but he had posted a 1.23 ERA over eight appearances prior to Wednesday's debacle. Roenicke even said last week he was considering the possibility of reinstating Axford - who was booed off the mound Wednesday - as Milwaukee's closer. "I don't think it's necessarily fair," Roenicke said of the crowd's treatment of Axford. "This guy's been pitching really well for us. I still obviously like him a lot. I think every time I put him out there, I think he's going to do a good job." The Brewers counter Westbrook with Wily Peralta (2-1, 5.02 ERA), who will make his first career start against St. Louis. Peralta has won two in a row, allowing five runs over 12 2-3 innings after posting a 6.19 ERA through his first three starts. Carlos Gomez enters on an eight-game hitting streak during which he's 15 for 29 (.517) with three homers and five RBIs, though he's 1 for 5 against Westbrook. Ryan Braun is 10 for 19 lifetime off of Westbrook but is hitting just .220 with 15 strikeouts in his last 10 games versus the Cardinals.

Starting rotation is carrying the Cardinals

Let's face it, where would the Cardinals be without their starting rotation? Through today, the Cardinals starters have posted a 2.11 ERA, nearly a run lower than the next closest team, the Cincinnati Reds (3.07 ERA).  This was more than enough to offset the worst bullpen in the league and give the Cards the top team ERA in the majors.  This is a surprising turnaround from...

St. Louis Cardinals: DAniel Descalso's days in St. Louis should be numbered

Entering the 2013 season, the St. Louis Cardinals had obvious question marks up the middle. So many question marks in fact, that they pulled an old Tony La Russa trick and converted Matt Carpenter, a natural third baseman, into a second baseman to create a platoon situation with Daniel Descalso. Carpenter has pulled his weight and held his own at second, but with David Freese struggling...

Booing John Axford Isn’t Really Wrong (But It Is Pathetic)

(Photo: Mike McGinnis) Listening to yesterday’s Brewers/Pirates game on the radio, it was pretty hard to ignore fans turning on John Axford, who took the loss after giving up four runs in the eighth inning.  Given the circumstances, reports like this one by Adam McCalvy indicate Axford was pretty magnanimous about the whole thing: “Fans are fans,” Axford said. ...

Cardinals' Matt Adams should return Tuesday

St. Louis Cardinals rookie first baseman Matt Adams is on course to return from the DL on Tuesday when he is eligible, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Adams (oblique) will join Double-A Springfield today to start a rehab assignment, then join the Cardinals in Chicago on Tuesday. Adams is looking forward to getting back into live games. “Seeing...

Extra work pays dividends for Brewers' Weeks

MILWAUKEE -- Rickie Weeks was frustrated, so he picked up the phone and called Brewers hitting coach Johnny Narron. He doesn't usually like to get early work in unless it's after a day off, but Weeks met Narron at the park at 12:30 and went to work in the cage and then on the field during batting practice. It's hard to know if his diligent efforts paid off Tuesday night...

Brewers Tuesday: Ramirez could return soon

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez took the next step in his return from the disabled list by successfully running the bases at 75 to 80 percent prior to Tuesday's game against Pittsburgh. On the disabled list since April 6 with a sprained left knee, Ramirez will run the bases again tomorrow and could return shortly thereafter if all goes according to plan. ...

Mujica taking ownership of the ninth inning

St. Louis Edward Mujica says it happened in Philadelphia on April 18. There the Cardinals reliever who had usually stuck to the seventh inning was, out on the mound in the ninth. Things weren't going very well. First, Phillies' outfielder Ben Revere had singled to center. Then, catcher Erik Kratz had singled to right. Runners stood on first and third with no outs, jeopardizing...

Brewers activate INF Bianchi from DL

The Milwaukee Brewers have activated infielder Jeff Bianchi from the 15-day disabled list. The Brewers made the move Thursday. A day earlier, they sent outfielder Khris Davis to Triple-A Nashville. The 25-year-old Bianchi started the season on the disabled list after dealing with a case of bursitis in his left hip. During a 15-game rehab assignment with Double-A Huntsville and...

Jon Hamm: Cardinals Trash Talker

It's good to be Jon Hamm. The internet is in love with you privates. Magazines write articles about how you're more than just your privates. And then when you go on TV and people try to avoid talking about your privates, you shut them down with some St. Louis Cardinals smack talk. And by 'them', I mean Jon Stewart.  Awesome. h/t RFT for catching this yesteday

Peralta unlucky as Cardinals bat around in third inning

MILWAUKEE -- It was just one of those days for Wily Peralta. One inning filled with a whole lot of bad luck left him with a pitching line unworthy of how he pitched. While Peralta didn't pitch great, he didn't deserve to give up six runs and 11 hits in just 4 13 innings. The Cardinals scored all six of their runs in a 6-5 victory off Peralta with two outs in the third inning...

Gonzalezs short-term memory has served him well

MILWAUKEE -- The game of baseball offers quite a few moments that are bizarre and sometimes just plain unlucky. Michael Gonzalez's relief pitching debut with the Brewers on April 3 certainly qualified as both. After Gonzalez walked the leadoff hitter, a perfect bunt single followed putting two on with nobody out. Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez followed with a broken bat...

Lulz Of The Week: Carlos Gomez does Neo, Jean Segura naps, Anthony Rendon winks

If it’s not enough to fall on your ass in front of a stadium full of people while retrieving a bat from Ryan Braun, there’s always Aramis Ramirez to point it out to everybody. —– Trey Hillman and Don Mattingly want to phone the Dodgers bullpen, get dog instead Umpire Ron Kulpa and the pump fake strike three call, Carlos Villanueva confused Here’s Justin Sellers showing...

Game 27 Preview: Pirates at Brewers

Pirates (15-11) at Brewers (13-11) 8:10 PM–Miller Park, Milwaukee Gameday TV: ROOT The Bucs will look to get rid of the Miller Park demons tonight as they take on the Brewers in game two of this series. The recent trend for the Pirates has been losing the first game of a series and coming back to win it, so hopefully that continues. I think even one win in the next two...

Pirates 6, Brewers 4

THOSE were the Pirates we came to know and love during the past few weeks. After falling behind yet again at Miller Park, the Bucs pulled off a big comeback and managed to shut Milwaukee down late to get out of Wisconsin with a rare victory. Jeanmar Gomez‘s start went about how most expected it to go. He labored early on and only managed to go four innings and gave up a couple...
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