Cardinals @ Brewers June 23 Free Pick


Jack Flaherty had a no-hitter through 100 pitches and 6.1 innings at Miller Park last night. Then, on pitch 101, Jesus Aguilar went down to get a ball down and away and poked it out to left field. On one pitch, gone was the no-hitter and even the lead.

It stayed 1–1 until the ninth when Aguilar stepped back up and hit one out to right-center, a walk-off solo shot. The two home runs were number 15 and 16 on the season for Aguilar and it gave Milwaukee a 4.5-game lead over Chicago and a 6.5-game lead over St. Louis in the Central Division.

The series resumes on Saturday, Miles Mikolas taking on Chase Anderson.

Free Pick

I’m impressed with the Brewers’ lineup, which now features both Eric Thames and Aguilar, who was originally Thames’ backup at first base before Thames went down with an injury.

Aguilar leads the team in OPS+ so you’re not going to take him out of the lineup. Instead, Thames has gone to the outfield, replacing Domingo Santana, who looks like a hitter but has struggled this season (he’s still young).

Now Thames has been leading off with Aguilar hitting fifth. Between them are Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Travis Shaw. That’s a ferocious first five with a little bit of everything, from right-handed power to left-handed power to speed. I’m a fan.

It’s a better lineup than Mikolas faced the first two times he opposed Milwaukee. That was his opponent for the first two starts of his season. He went a combined 12 innings and gave up eight runs (four in each outing).

After that he caught fire. His earned runs allowed totals followed: 1, 1, 2, 0, 1, 2, 0, 4, 1, 0, 3, 4. And that brings us up to the present day. Of course, those last two starts stick out but only because the numbers leading up to then are so good.

Anderson is just 5–6 and his ERA is an unimpressive 4.54. But his WHIP is 1.17, which is close to what it was last year when he enjoyed a stellar season all the way through. Unlike Mikolas, this will be the first time he faces his Saturday opponent this season.

I lean Milwaukee at +100 at home. I also like the under in a matchup between two starting pitchers that aren’t necessarily heralded around the league but just get the job done. I’m saying Mikolas bounces back from two below-average starts by his standards and that Anderson’s ERA starts to creep down towards his WHIP.

Play: Under 5.0 (First 5 Innings)

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