Brewers, Cards try to gain control of NLCS

The Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals try to take control of the NLCS Friday in St. Louis with the series tied at two apiece. Four previous times the Cardinals have been tied 2-2 in the NLCS (1985, 1987, 2004, 2006). All four times they won the series and advanced to the World Series. The Brewers have only been in one previous best-of-seven series that was tied at two games, the 1982 World Series, which they lost in seven games to the Cardinals despite winning Game 5.

On the Mound

This is a rematch of the starting pitchers for Game 1 of this series – Zack Greinke and Jaime Garcia.

Zack Greinke This Season

Greinke is making his third career postseason start. In the Game 1 start of this series, he went six innings while allowing six earned runs, but still earned the win. In fact, Greinke probably wishes this start was at home since he’s 12-0 in Miller Park this season (regular and postseason combined).

Greinke is 5-3 with a 4.41 ERA in eight career starts against the Cardinals (including postseason).

Garcia is also making his third career postseason start. He enters 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA, which includes allowing six earned runs in four innings in Game 1 against Milwaukee.

Jaime Garcia, Starts This Season

Garcia - who’s 3-3 with a 3.64 ERA in eight career starts against the Brewers - has struggled after a promising start to the season. Garcia began the year 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his first 10 starts, but since then, he’s only 8-9 with a 4.62 ERA.

Players to Watch

Albert Pujols is 8-for-15 (.533) with six RBI in this series and David Freese is 8-for-16 (.500) with six runs batted in. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the first pair of teammates in major-league history to each bat at least .500 with six or more RBIs through their team's first four games of a postseason series.

Ryan Braun

BraunCan the Cardinals slow down Ryan Braun? He has nine RBI this postseason. Only Cecil Cooper had more in a single postseason for the Brewers, with 10 in 1982. Braun also has reached base safely in the first inning in each of his last eight postseason games. That's the longest streak in MLB history, surpassing the mark he shared with Gary Sheffield for the 1997 Marlins. With 21 hits in his first 50 postseason at-bats, he is the first player since Mike Stanley (1995-1999) to accomplish that feat. Six other players did it prior to Stanley.

Stat of the Game

This is the third best-of-seven postseason series of Tony La Russa's managerial career that was tied 2-2 through four games. According to Elias, his team won each of the previous two such series in seven games: the 2004 NLCS against the Houston Astros and the 2006 NLCS vs. the New York Mets.