Billy J’s Thursday MLB Preview – Milwaukee Brewers @ St. Louis Cardinals

Our in-house MLB expert, Billy J (+2.51 units), gives his best bet for today!

For the third time this season the Brewers and Cardinals will conclude another four-game series. I don’t think I have ever seen more than two four-game series scheduled between teams during a year without some unusual circumstances or makeup doubleheaders. But somehow here we are not even in July and these teams are somehow finishing their third series of the year where each series is four games. I digress as I found that very interesting. The point here… these teams know each other very well and have so much familiarity to start this season. There are a few more series in the second half, but each of these games, although June, are very critical for the N.L. Central crown as currently the Cardinals sit one game ahead of the Brewers in the standings.

In today’s series finale of the four game set we have Dakota Hudson (5-3, 3.31 ERA) squaring off against Brewers right-hander Jason Alexander (1-0, 2.42 ERA). Hudson is making back-to-back road starts and earned the win in his last start at the Red Sox. The control wasn’t there as he walked five Red Sox batters and with 93 pitches was able to get through 5 innings. Hudson isn’t going to dazzle you with strikeout-to-walk ratio as that currently stands at 1.22. What Hudson will do is get you through five or six innings and allow the team to stay in the game.

Hudson’s pitching opponent today in Alexander is making just his fifth start of the year. Alexander will make just his second start at home and has only allowed six earned runs total on the season which is pretty impressive when taking a quick look at his series of starts this year. What appears to be very deceiving is his 2.42 ERA. Reason being is in no start this year has Alexander not allowed seven or more hits. His current BABIP through just four starts is .349. That would put him third in the majors at this time. On the top of the BABIP list there are some high strikeout volume pitchers like Dylan Cease, Zack Wheeler, Shane Bieber, etc. However, we see names like German Marquez and a pitcher I faded yesterday in Tarik Skubal. With Alexander allowing as many hits as he has each start and not really a strikeout pitcher thus far, it is rather difficult to keep up this pace and the current ERA he has.

I consider this game too a quick reflex type of game where a bettor would look at the series and see that the Brewers are the home team and need the home series split. The current line is baiting you to take the home team here almost at even odds. In such a critical early season game I see many arrows pointing to the Cardinals in this one. Take into consideration the Brewers are still stumbling at home with a 1-8 record in their last 9 home games as well. The main factor in my pick today is looking into the regression of Alexander and his high BABIP against a Cardinals team that is fourth in the majors in total hits. Those hits will eventually start stacking up and inflate his ERA. I’m taking the Cardinals here for one unit to finish the series strong and increase their division lead to two games.  

The Pick: Cardinals -112 on BetRivers

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