Kate Barrington  |  Sat 30th Mar   | MLB

With their season-opening series tied at 1-1, the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals will now rely on their young hurlers to get the pivotal win on Saturday (7:10 PM EST) at Miller Park.

Dakota Hudson will be making his season debut for the Cardinals after being named the team’s fifth starter. A former first-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the 26-year-old righty spent his first two seasons in the Cardinals’ farm system before finally getting a major league call-up in July of last year. Hudson finished the remainder of the season in the Cards’ bullpen, recording 11 holds, a 2.63 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 27.1 innings pitched.

Brandon Woodruff, meanwhile, went back and forth between Triple-A and the majors over the last two seasons due to various injuries. Now fully healthy, the 26-year-old Woodruff looks to make a big impact for the Brewers right from the get-go. The righty is sporting a 5-3 record with a 4.22 ERA and 79 strikeouts.

St. Louis Cardinals Team Preview

The Cardinals had some mixed results in their first two games of the season.

Their sluggers are so far living to the hype especially newly acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who already blasted three homers and drove five runs. Second baseman Kolten Wong is also putting up the work as he’s batting .429 with two home runs, three hits, and three RBIs in seven at plate appearance.

On the other hand, their pitching might need a little bit of time to catch up. Both Miles Mikolas and Jake Flaherty bombed out in their season debuts, as the two starters allowed a combined 12 hits, nine earned runs, and four homers over 9.1 pitched innings.

Despite losing the fifth starting slot to Hudson, John Gant has been doing an excellent job as a relief pitcher for the Cards. On Friday, the 26-year-old Gant stepped in for a struggling Flaherty and actually halted the Brewers’ rally in the fifth. St. Louis is going to need more of those from him in the next games, especially if Hudson succumbs to pressure.

Milwaukee Brewers Team Preview

As for the Brewers, the story so far is about the red-hot form of reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich. The 27-year-old right fielder recorded two homers, four RBIs and three hits in just the first two games. The reigning Hank Aaron Award winner is also on pace for his first .300 batting season in five years after going .600 at the plate so far.

Over on the pitching side, Jhoulys Chacin and Freddy Peralta had so-so performances on their debut but the biggest news by far is the season-ending injury to Brewers reliever Corey Knebel, who elected to undergo a Tommy John surgery. Yasmani Grandal is also having a defensive clinic at center field, where he already recorded 12 putouts and an assist for 13 total chances. Lorenzo Cain had his first highlight of the year when he robbed Cards’ Jose Martinez of a game-tying homer in the ninth inning to win the game for the Brewers.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers Betting Picks

Again, the focus will be on Goldschmidt and Yelich as they resume their slugging duel. These batters appear very much motivated early this season, and there’s a strong possibility we are in for another treat on Saturday.

As for the showdown on the mound Hudson and Woodruff will be tested right from the start, and again, the game could come down to which team has the deeper bullpen. So far, Gant has been the difference maker for the Cardinals these past two games. It would be intriguing what the Cardinals starting rotation would be if Gant comes up with another momentum-swinging play for the third straight game.

Kate Barrington