|4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)5:10 PM CT, March 30, 2019
Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Attendance: 36,655
Hudson to make first career start for Cardinals against Brewers
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).
- Bryant injured as Cubs blown out by Reds
- A's rout Mariners for ninth straight win
- Biggio hits first homer, Jays rip Padres
- BoSox top Astros' Verlander, avoid sweep
- Odorizzi helps hot Twins sweep White Sox
St. Louis Cardinals rookie Dakota Hudson gained valuable confidence while making 26 relief appearances last season.
Saturday night will mark his first career start in Major League Baseball, but it doesn't seem to faze the 24-year-old right-hander. Bring on the defending National League Central champion Milwaukee Brewers and a hostile atmosphere at Miller Park.
"I feel very comfortable going into it," Hudson said. "I feel like I've been working on the right things. And I've some leadership and guys to talk to and 'spitball' ideas off of."
Hudson was 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in 2018, scattering 19 hits, 18 walks and 19 strikeouts across 27 1/3 innings. He also shined in the minors, helping Triple-A Memphis to a Pacific Coast League championship while garnering Pitcher of the Year honors in the PCL and St. Louis' farm system.
His competition for one of the Cardinals' final rotation spots entering the 2019 season included fellow young arms Austin Gomber and Daniel Ponce de Leon. Hudson earned his place with a sterling spring, compiling a 1.72 ERA in 15 2/3 innings.
In his final spring training outing, on March 23, Hudson pitched six innings of scoreless, three-hit relief to preserve a 4-4 tie against the Washington Nationals. Increased command and harnessed mechanics -- a product of consulting with Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux -- helped Hudson get 10 ground-ball outs.
"There were some things 'Mad Dog' and I worked on with my hand break," Hudson said. "I think it's starting to make me more consistent. I feel like I'm in the same spot every time."
Added Cardinals manager Mike Shildt: "The sky's the limit."
The Brewers organization feels similarly about Hudson's opponent on Saturday. While Milwaukee right-hander Brandon Woodruff boasts more starting experience than Hudson -- 12 starts in 27 career appearances over parts of two seasons -- he also is viewed as a developing arm.
Woodruff -- 26, and, like Hudson, a Mississippi State product -- evolved into a reliable weapon during the Brewers' bullpen-led charge to the 2018 National League Championship Series.
After striking out 20 and holding opponents to a .175 batting average in four postseason appearances covering 12 1/3 innings last fall, Woodruff will settle into a role in the Milwaukee rotation.
Whenever he pitches, Woodruff figures to channel a newfound sense of urgency and aggressiveness on the mound.
"I think I took a lot of lessons last year from going deep in the playoffs and just attacking guys and trying to have those quick innings, and I think it allowed me to have some success," Woodruff said. "I think coming into this spring that was a huge thing for me, was just trying to get quick outs."
The Brewers and Cardinals split the first two games of the season-opening, four-game series, with Milwaukee winning 5-4 on Opening Day before St. Louis answered with a 9-5 victory on Friday.
Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt sparked St. Louis' 14-hit attack in the second game of the series, going 4-for-5 with three home runs and five RBIs. It was the second three-home run game of Goldschmidt's career. He was acquired in an offseason trade with Arizona and signed a five-year, $130 million contract extension with St. Louis near the end of Spring Training.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 30, 2019