|11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, March 31, 2019
Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Attendance: 35,042
Yelich eyes history in Brewers' series finale vs. Cards
St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers
- The Brewers won their last four games against the Cardinals in 2018 and finished 7.5 games ahead of them in the division. Milwaukee won the season series with an 11-8 record, the same mark it posted in 2017. The Brewers had never won the season series against the Cards in back-to-back years.
- The Brewers won the National League Central in 2018 by winning a Game 163 against the Cubs. That was the Brewers' first division title since 2011. Milwaukee fell to Los Angeles in the 2018 NLCS, 4- 3, the round it also reached in 2011 -- the Brewers lost to the Cardinals, 4-2, that season.
- The Cardinals failed to make the postseason in 2018 for the third straight season despite having a win percentage over .500 in all three seasons. St. Louis is the first National League team to have three or more consecutive winning seasons without a playoff berth since the Phillies from 2003 to 2006.
- Miles Mikolas went 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA in his first season in St. Louis. He had the most wins by a pitcher in his first season with the Cardinals since Darryl Kile won 20 games in 2000. Mikolas had 19 games with six-plus innings pitched and two earned runs or fewer in 2018, fourth most in the NL.
- Jhoulys Chacin went 15-8 with a 3.50 ERA in his first season in Milwaukee. He limited right-handed batters to a .528 OPS, the third-lowest mark among National League pitchers who faced at least 200 righties in 2018 (Jacob deGrom was first with .460 OPS against and Miles Mikolas was second at .504).
- Christian Yelich was the National League MVP for 2018. From September 1 to the end of the regular season, Yelich had an OBP of .508 and slugged .804. He is the first NL player to have 500+ OBP and .800+ SLG after September 1 since Barry Bonds in 2001 (.607/1.078) in 2001 (minimum 50 PA).
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Christian Yelich will try to match a major league record when the Milwaukee Brewers host the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday afternoon to wrap up a four-game series.
Yelich, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, has homered in each of his first three games of the season. That represents a franchise record and is one shy of the all-time mark, shared by five players.
A home run in the series finale would give Yelich a piece of the record along with Willie Mays (San Francisco Giants, 1971), Mark McGwire (Cardinals, 1998), Nelson Cruz (Texas Rangers, 2011), Chris Davis (Baltimore Orioles, 2013) and Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies, 2016). Yelich is coming off a career-best season with 36 homers and 110 RBIs.
"Nothing's really changed, I guess is what I'd say," Brewers manager Craig Counsell told reporters in comments published by MLB.com. "He's been locked in since the first day of spring training."
Milwaukee has won two of the series' first three games, including a 4-2 victory on Saturday night. Brewers hitters have already clubbed eight home runs, through three games in front of their hometown fans.
Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha will attempt to quiet those bats in his first appearance of the 2019 campaign. The seventh-year veteran has a career record of 53-32 with a 3.77 ERA in 136 games (127 starts).
In 11 games (10 starts) against Milwaukee, Wacha is 5-0 with a 4.19 ERA. He has 53 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings.
This figures to be a telling year for Wacha, 27, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. The former first-round pick out of Texas A&M has been hindered by injuries throughout his career but says he feels good now.
Wacha told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is trying to stay in the moment rather than wonder about his future.
"It's important not to get caught up in that stuff, from my end," Wacha said during a spring training interview with the newspaper. "This is just a great clubhouse. That's why you see me smiling. Guys having fun, meshing well and building that team chemistry. That's very important in this game in order to win."
One new arrival is first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who has three homers and six RBIs in his first three games with his new team. The Cardinals acquired him from the Arizona Diamondbacks during the offseason and locked him up with a five-year, $130 million contract extension just before the start of the season.
Goldschmidt and his teammates will try to escape with a series tie against Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes, who will make his first career start after appearing in 30 games out of the bullpen in 2018. The 24-year-old won a spot in the starting rotation this spring after going 7-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 38 relief innings last season.
Burnes went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three bullpen appearances against the Cardinals a year ago.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 31, 2019