(Photo credit: Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK)
After clinching the National League Central title, the Milwaukee Brewers will have one eye on postseason preparation Wednesday when they face the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.
The Brewers (88-69) dropped a 4-1 decision to the Cardinals (69-88) on Tuesday in the opener of the three-game series before wrapping up the division title after the Chicago Cubs lost 7-6 at Atlanta.
"We put ourselves in a great position," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said during a boisterous post-game celebration. "Very confident that it was going to happen at some point, but the earlier it happens, I feel like the better we can prepare for ... maybe the other teams that we're going to end up playing have to work really hard."
"That's out of our control. We got our part done now. We'll do our best over the next five days to make sure everybody's prepared."
It's the fourth NL Central title for Milwaukee, which also won in 2011, 2018 and 2021. The Brewers also were American League East champions in 1981 and 1982, with the second leading to the only World Series appearance in franchise history.
Left-hander Wade Miley (9-4, 3.20 ERA) will start for Milwaukee on Wednesday against St. Louis left-hander Zack Thompson (5-7, 4.57).
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas allowed just one run over seven innings in the opener. Brewers starter Adrian Houser retired the first nine hitters, but then allowed a pair of runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Milwaukee, which is 74-16 when scoring four or more runs, dropped to 14-53 when held to three or fewer.
Miley has won his past two starts, allowing three runs in 11 2/3 innings, but all were in the first inning in a 5-3 win over Washington on Sept. 15. In his most recent start, Miley tossed six scoreless innings in a 6-0 win at St. Louis, allowing three hits, while striking out seven.
Miley is 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA in 13 career starts against the Cardinals, including 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in two starts this season.
Thompson originally was slated to start the series opener before being bumped back in favor of Mikolas.
Thompson took the loss against Milwaukee in his most recent start on Sept. 20, allowing four runs on five hits in five innings. He served up a three-run homer to Josh Donaldson in the first inning.
Thompson is 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA in five career games (one start) against Milwaukee. He has not allowed a run in 3 2/3 innings in three relief appearances at American Family Field.
St. Louis announced before Tuesday's game that longtime ace Adam Wainwright, who is retiring, would not pitch again this season.
"I've thought a lot about it the last few days and I'm in a really good place mentally," Wainwright told MLB.com. "No regrets about anything I ever did, no second thoughts on pitching or retiring, and I'm at peace with all of it."
Mikolas moved up a day to give him one more start this season.
"You've got to respect the fact that he never wants out. He wants the ball and he's going to take it every five days," Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said of Mikolas. "He wants an extra start, even in the environment that we're playing in right now."
--Field Level Media