The St. Louis Cardinals (2-2) will play their second game of a three game divisional series against the Milwaukee Brewers (3-1). The game will be played in Milwaukee and will begin at approximately 6:40 CT.
Despite being early in the season, divisional games are important, especially considering how uncharacteristically poor the Cardinals were on the road in the NL-Central last year. Here are some players to watch in today’s game.
Flaherty is currently the 38th overall prospect on the MLB’s Prospect Board after finishing 2017 as the 48th. While he had some control problems in the few appearances that he had for the Cardinals last year (10 walks, 4 HR’s allowed in 21.1 innings), he has been borderline dominant in those statistics over 85.2 innings in Triple-A in 2017, with just 24 walks and 10 home runs given up in that time.
The hope within the Cardinal organization is that Flaherty went through some growing pains last season, and the adjustment to the majors was a bit quick for him. Now, with some experience and an offseason of preparation and training, he will be able to feel more comfortable and truly spread his wings at the major league level. This first start and the improvements that are displayed from last season is something to keep an eye on.
Fowler had a well-publicized effort to find his first hit of the season, and it somehow managed to work. Things still aren’t looking great for Fowler, who has already recorded seven strikeouts in just 19 PAs. Hopefully, Fowler’s hit will ignite him to rebound from this rough start, because the Cardinals can’t afford to have a guy with more Ks than hits and walks combined as a leadoff hitter.
Speaking of, Fowler has only been able to draw one walk so far this season, which is a big concern considering his ability to get on base is one of the reasons Fowler is the leadoff hitter. Fowler has to start showing some more discipline soon if he wants to remain as high as he is in the lineup.
It doesn’t help Flaherty case that Cain has started the season on a torrid pace. The former Royal has started the season simply on fire. Cain is hitting .500/.526/.823 with three doubles, a homer, and four RBI’s. On top of that, Cain has already stolen three bases without getting caught.
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Cain was one of the bigger acquisitions for Milwaukee this offseason after signing a 5-year, $80 million deal with the Brewers this offseason, and was brought in with young outfielder Christian Yelich in order to galvanize an offense that hasn’t quite been the same since the departure of Prince Fielder and subsequent HGH situation and on-field decline that Ryan Braun became embroiled in.
It will be interesting to see how the young Flaherty approaches Cain, and whether or not Cain can take advantage of any mistakes the young rookie may make. With his pedigree as a .296 hitter and the way he is seeing the ball now, giving something for Cain to hit tonight can doom the Cardinals.
Can the Cardinals get back above .500 and close the gap in the NL Central tonight? What are your expectations for these players? Anyone else you have an eye on? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.