Looking For a Split

The St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers opened their current series with concerns surrounding their closers. Those problems seem to be answered - for now.

Both teams embattled closers are out, and the Cardinals look for a split in their four-game series with the Brewers in Monday's finale at Miller Park.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made St. Louis -116 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on St. Louis -116 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

St. Louis' Jason Isringhausen and Milwaukee's Eric Gagne lead the majors with five blown saves apiece, and they have each been relieved of their closing duties.

On Saturday, Cardinals (23-16) manager Tony La Russa announced Isringhausen would no longer be the team's closer after the two-time All-Star blew a save in Friday's 4-3 loss to the Brewers (18-19).

La Russa said Ryan Franklin and Russ Springer would split the closer's role, and Franklin earned the save in Saturday's 5-3 win.

Gagne, the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner, took the loss for Milwaukee Saturday, and Brewers manager Ned Yost announced Sunday the team would now use a closer by committee.

In Milwaukee's 5-3 win on Sunday, left-handed specialist Brian Shouse got the save after Salomon Torres got the first two outs in the ninth.

"I feel good about every reliever I've got down there,'' Yost said. "These guys make their money by being ready.''

Ryan Braun had two solo homers on Sunday, helping the Brewers win for just the second time in nine games. Milwaukee has not won consecutive games since April 22 and 23.

Braun is 7-for-13 with two doubles in this series, and is batting .467 (14-for-30) with two homers, four doubles and six RBIs in seven games against the Cardinals this season. He is only 3-for-13 (.231) lifetime against Monday's scheduled starter Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.25 ERA).

Wainwright has allowed one run in 13 1-3 innings over his last two starts, but has not received a decision in either outing. The right-hander had been in line for the win in each of those starts, but the bullpen squandered leads in both games.

On Wednesday, Wainwright yielded four hits in seven scoreless innings of a 4-3 loss at Colorado.

Wainwright has already made two starts against the Brewers this season, going 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA. In his last at Miller Park on April 21, Wainwright gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings of St. Louis' 4-3 victory, but was not a factor in the decision.

The Cardinals have lost four of five after winning eight of their previous 10. They have fallen percentage points behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central lead.

Ryan Ludwick, who drove in two runs off Gagne in the ninth Saturday, hit is eighth homer on Sunday. Ludwick is 10-for-22 (.455) with four home runs and eight RBIs in his last six games.

Albert Pujols singled on Sunday, and has reached base safely in all 39 games, but he hasn't been hitting with the same potency lately. He is 12-for-43 (.279) with two home runs and five RBIs in his last 12 games, after batting .382 with five homers and 20 RBIs in his first 27 games.

Pujols is only 2-for-11 (.182) lifetime versus Monday's scheduled starter Dave Bush (0-4, 6.98), who is again seeking his first win.

Bush, who is back in Milwaukee's starting rotation following an injury to Yovani Gallardo, allowed six runs and five hits in six innings of a 6-2 loss at Florida on Wednesday.

The right-hander is not having much success this year, but his only quality start of the season came against the Cardinals. On April 15 in St. Louis, Bush gave up three runs and six hits in six innings in a 6-1 loss. He is 1-4 with a 6.98 ERA in five career starts versus the Cardinals. Bet this game.

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