The Milwaukee Brewers will turn to right-hander Adrian Houser on Tuesday as they continue their wild-card chase against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a two-game series.
The Brewers, on the verge of missing the postseason for the first time since 2017, are 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the final National League wild-card spot. Both Milwaukee and the Phillies were idle on Monday. Philadelphia holds the tiebreaker over Milwaukee.
Houser (6-9, 4.62 ERA) will be opposed by right-hander Miles Mikolas (11-13, 3.35 ERA) for the Cardinals, who lead the NL Central by 6 1/2 games over Milwaukee.
The Brewers missed a series sweep on Sunday with a 2-1 loss at Cincinnati in their final road game of the season. Milwaukee closes with nine consecutive home games -- two against the Cardinals, four against Miami, and three against Arizona.
"We're going to have to win a lot of games, there's no question about it. But we bought ourselves a fun homestand and we bought ourselves days into the homestand, too," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We're going to have be good on the homestand, we're going to have to be really good. But we're capable of it."
Houser is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in four starts in September, but has just three strikeouts and eight walks in 18 2/3 innings over that span. He also has not given up a home run in that stretch.
In his last start, Houser tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over the Mets last Wednesday, but did not get the decision.
"Adrian pitched well. There wasn't a ton of action out there against him," Counsell said of Houser's start. "He did a nice job. He did what he's good at right now, and that's ball in play, be in the strike zone, and use your defense and he did a nice job of it."
Houser is 4-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 13 career games against St. Louis, including 10 starts. He is 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA in two starts this season against the Cardinals, giving up nine runs (six earned) in 9 2/3 innings.
Mikolas has lost his last three starts and is 2-4 with a 3.07 ERA over his last seven. In his last outing, he was saddled with the defeat despite allowing just one unearned run on three hits in six innings in a 1-0 loss Wednesday at San Diego.
"I really liked my stuff today. It would have been nice to have some quicker at-bats, maybe able to get deeper into that seventh inning," Mikolas said after his last start. "But pretty happy with my stuff. I was fairly efficient, located well, liked all my stuff. Curveball and slider were good, fastball had some nice jump to it. I was pretty happy."
Mikolas is 7-4 in 13 career appearances against Milwaukee, including 12 starts. He is 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA in four starts this season against the Brewers. He is 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) at American Family Field.
--Field Level Media