Larry Ness' 10* Division G.O.M. (3-1 start)-Day: Larry took the 1st 'handicapping hiatus' of his career last July & August. He came back invigorated, finishing MLB 2011 on a MONEY-MAKING run. MLB has always been his favorite sport to handicap & he's opened 2012 (3-1) right where he left off LY. Saturday afternoon, it's his 1st top-rated 10* of MLB 2012, his Division G.O.M. BE THERE!
Game: St Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers Apr 7 2012 4:05PM
Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers
Grade: Winner (100)
Reason: My 10* NL Central Game of the Month is on the Mil Brewers at 4:05 ET.
The Cardinals bested the Brewers in last year’s NLCS and after a quick ‘pit stop’ to open the new Marlins Stadium (Cards ruined the Marlins’ “day” by beating Josh Johnson 4-1, as Lohse took a no-hitter into the 7th), the Cards began the 2012 season in the same manner as they had closed the 2011 season. Milwaukee ace Gallardo entered Friday’s game 1-8 with a 5.78 ERA in 12 starts against the Cards (including the postseason) and was ‘ripped’ in just 3.2 innings. He walked FIVE, allowed seven hits (including four HRs) and gave up six ERs, as the Cards won 11-5. ‘Licking their wounds,’ the Brewers turn to Zach Greinke. Greinke began last year on the DL (first start wasn’t until May 4) but after a slow start, had an excellent season (was 9-3 with a 2.59 ERA after the All-Star break). Greinke would finish 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA but then pitched poorly in the postseason. He allowed 23 hits and 12 ERs in 16.2 innings over three starts for a 6.48 ERA. He was 1-1 in those games and the team 2-1. Quite impressively, Greinke was 11-0 in 15 home starts in the regular season, as the Brewers went 15-0 in those starts and even in the postseason, won both of his home starts! Greinke will be opposed by Adam Wainwright. The Cards managed to win the World Series last season without an injured Wainwright, who be making his first start in just over a year and a half. He last took the mound for St Louis on September 24, 2010, when he beat the Chicago Cubs 7-1 to finish 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA. Wainwright finished second behind Roy Halladay in the Cy Young Award voting, after going 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA the year before (finished third in the Cy Young voting when Carpenter was runner-up to Tim Lincecum). However, the Cards announced he would need Tommy John surgery and miss all of 2011 during last year’s spring training. Carpenter led the NL with 237.1 innings and 34 starts last season and then threw 36 more innings in the postseason, going 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA in six starts to help St Louis win the World Series. However, as 2012 opens, it’s Chris Carpenter dealing with his own physical ailment, meaning Wainwright is back in the role of “ace” for the Cards this year (hopefully). I’m not predicting that Wainwright can’t return to form (he had a solid spring, opening with 16.1 innings without allowing an earned run until Detroit reached him for four runs -- three earned -- over 4.2 innings in his final start March 28.) but I want to see it, first. It’s hard to argue against the fact that the Brewers were 17-0 in Greinke’s home starts last year (including the postseason) or that Milwaukee was 57-24 at home last year, own easily owning MLB’s best moneyline mark of plus-$2,541 (next-best was Arizona at plus-$1,437). Milwaukee bounces back in a big way off yesterday’s loss, for the FOX cameras!