The Milwaukee Brewers will turn to right-hander Brandon Woodruff as they continue their wild-card chase while closing out a two-game series against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
The Cardinals might be in a relaxed mood after clinching the National League Central title with a 6-2victory over the Brewers in the series opener.
Woodruff (12-4, 3.18 ERA) will be opposed by red-hot St. Louis left-hander Jose Quintana (6-6, 3.03).
For the third season in a row, St. Louis clinched a postseason berth by beating the Brewers.
Miles Mikolas allowed just one run over six innings and Andrew Knizner hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals. The Brewers lost starter Adrian Houser in the fourth inning due to a right groin strain.
The victory gave the Cardinals (90-65) a 10-8 edge over the Brewers (82-72) in the season series heading into the teams' last matchup on Wednesday.
"We still have a long way to go," said Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, who last week became the fourth player in major league history to hit 700 home runs. "We just took one step and that's it. At the end of the day, it's definitely a huge step. We're just excited, a great group of guys, to be back in the playoffs and hopefully finish our mission, and that's winning a championship."
Milwaukee remained 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia (83-70) for the final NL wild-card spot as the Phillies lost 2-1 to the Chicago Cubs. The Brewers play their final eight games at home, while Philadelphia plays its final nine on the road.
"It helps that they lost," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It puts us in the same position going into (Wednesday). It gives us more control."
Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich added, "Obviously, we're not in a position where we control our own destiny, so we need to give ourselves the best chance possible by winning as many of these last eight as we can. See what happens, hope to get a little lucky, and make it in."
Woodruff, since coming off the injured list in late June, is 7-1 with a 2.49 ERA in 16 starts. He has won each of his past three starts, striking out at least 10 in each of those contests.
Woodruff is 4-4 with a 3.02 ERA in 12 career appearances vs. St. Louis, including 10 starts. He is 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in two starts this season against the Cardinals, allowing two runs in nine innings.
Quintana, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline, is 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 10 starts with St. Louis. In his latest start, he tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings in an 11-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday to extend his scoreless streak to 17 1/3 innings.
The lefty will be making his 21st career appearance (20th start) against Milwaukee but first with the Cardinals. He is 9-4 with a 2.95 ERA vs. the Brewers, his most wins against any opponent. He faced them twice earlier this year, posting no decisions and a 4.82 ERA.
Quintana is 5-2 with a 4.06 ERA in 10 lifetime starts at Milwaukee.
--Field Level Media