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Preview: Brewers at Cardinals

Current Conditions – St. Louis
CLOUDS AND SUN 78 °F
Wind: NNW 10
5-Day Forecast GAME: Milwaukee Brewers (65-90) at St. Louis Cardinals (98-57)
DATE/TIME: Sunday, September 27 – 2:15 PM EST
WHERE: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

With Carlos Martinez shelved the rest of the season and Adam Wainwright furiously trying to rebound from injury to join the bullpen, John Lackey finds himself as the St. Louis Cardinals’ ace heading toward the postseason. Lackey starts Sunday’s series finale when St. Louis hosts the Milwaukee Brewers while trying to fend off the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.

The Cardinals hold a three-game advantage on Pittsburgh, and while St. Louis already has clinched a postseason berth, how far they will advance in part will be determined by the 36-year-old Lackey. He has posted a 6-4 record with a 2.41 ERA in 13 second-half starts, allowing two runs or fewer in 15 of his past 19 outings, while providing a comforting veteran presence to a rotation that will navigate October without Wainwright (if healthy, he will join the bullpen) and now Martinez. The Cardinals’ 5-1 victory bolsters St. Louis’ major-league best home record to 55-25. Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy is 5-for-7 with two RBIs in the past three games after missing two weeks with a concussion, collecting three hits in his first start Saturday.

TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Tyler Cravy (0-8, 6.21 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH John Lackey (13-9, 2.74)

Cravy made his major-league debut against the Cardinals on June 2, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings of a 1-0 loss. The 26-year-old opened September in the bullpen, giving up four runs in 6 2/3 innings before allowing two runs in four innings in a start Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs. Cravy is 0-6 in six starts with a 6.52 ERA, surrendering six runs on eight hits over five innings in a start against St. Louis on Aug. 7.

Lackey has provided the Cardinals with stability down the stretch, allowing six runs in 28 1/3 innings across four September starts and winning his last two outings. He pitched seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts and five hits allowed to defeat the Brewers Sept. 17, and held Cincinnati to one run on nine hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings Tuesday. Lackey is 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee this season.

WALK-OFFS

1. St. Louis C Yadier Molina (torn left thumb ligament) will be re-evaluated by team doctors Monday and the Cardinals hope he can return to the lineup at some point next week.

2. The Cardinals got more troublesome health news Saturday, removing 3B Matt Carpenter from the game after five innings with left hip tightness.

3. Milwaukee RF Ryan Braun made his first start in eight games Saturday, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 7, Brewers 2