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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, August 1, 2014 at 7:00 AM

What looked to be an amazing four-team race several days ago in the Central Division of the National League may be down to only three with the fade of the Cincinnati Reds. But, the resurgent Pittsburgh Pirates are still in the thick of things…as are the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals who will square off this weekend for a three-game set under the arch.

Let’s get caught up with key stats for the Brew Crew and Redbirds…



Milwaukee: 4.32 runs per game, .311 on-base, .409 slugging

St. Louis: 3.65 runs per game, .316 on-base, .370 slugging

Milwaukee has the second-best run scoring offense in the National League behind Colorado. And, because Colorado plays its home games on the moon, Milwaukee is truly the “park adjusted” best offense in the Senior Circuit. St. Louis currently ranks second worst in the NL, only ahead of lowly San Diego. You can see above that POWER is the difference-maker, with a big edge in pop for this weekend’s visitors.



Wily Peralta: 3.56 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 6.6 K-Rate

Adam Wainwright: 1.92 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 7.3 K-Rate

Peralta has only been 50/50 to throw a quality start lately. But, he’s been getting fantastic run support all season, which has allowed him to post a 12-6 record. That low K-Rate could be an issue in the pennant race when the Brewers really need big performances from him. Wainwright is still posting Cy Young caliber numbers, though Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers is now positioned to chase him down in vote tallies. Edge to Wainwright and the hosts in the series opener.



Jimmy Nelson: 4.30 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 8.6 K-Rate

Justin Masterson: 5.51 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 8.5 K-Rate

Nelson’s only made four starts for the Brewers, but he’s been fairly effective outside of one horrendous outing. Unfortunately, that bad start was against the Cardinals. Nelson could actually loom pretty large in the pennant race, as the tie-breaker in the crowded NL Central might come down to production at the back end of the rotation. Masterson missed most of July with a knee injury, and has been performing way below past standards for the Cleveland Indians all season. He moved to the inferior league in this week’s trade, which could inspire a turnaround. But, it’s a long way to go from a 1.65 WHIP to being productive! The Over may deserve a look.



Kyle Lohse: 3.07 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 6.6 K-Rate

Lance Lynn: 2.98 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 8.3 K-Rate

Lohse has been solidly consistent this season, but rarely dominant. That’s going to win a lot of games for an offensive team…but pitchers like this often hit a wall in crunch time because they don’t have an extra gear or anything that would scare a top opponent. Lynn has thrown quality starts in eight of his last nine outings. Many locals are frustrated though because he’s been so walk-prone. Low run support from his offense has magnified the issue. Tough to sustain an ERA below 3.00 with a WHIP above 1.30. Another pitcher with volatile possibilities in this complicated race.  

HUGE SERIES! Milwaukee could make a statement and put some distance between themselves and the Cardinals. St. Louis could make a statement (one that’s long overdue for 2014) about their potential title hopes. Both could knock each other around in a way that really helps Pittsburgh.

And, of course, handicappers and fans will get an immediate read on how big or small a role Justin Masterson will play down the stretch for his new team. This one issue could be the single biggest influence on the Cards from this point forward.

JIM HURLEY knows that you’re excited about football starting this weekend. He wants to remind you that every dollar you make in baseball will magnify itself through the Fall in football! You can purchase game day BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about baseball or football service, call us at 1-888-777-4155.

We’ve called a baseball audible for our Saturday report to evaluate Thursday’s blockbuster trade between Boston and Oakland. So, here’s the revamped NOTEBOOK schedule…

Saturday: Special Report on the impact of the Lester/Cespedes trade

Sunday: NFC East Preview to get you ready for the NYG vs. Buffalo in the Hall of Fame Game!

Monday: MLB Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels at the Los Angeles Dodgers!

Tuesday: MLB Series Preview: either Detroit at NYY, or SF at Milwaukee

That Sunday NFL report will kick off our August series of divisional previews. We’ll finish off the NFC in the first full week of action, followed the next week by the AFC.

Whether it’s baseball or football, you’re going to GET ALL THE MONEY through the month of August with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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