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June 21st, 2022

Winners of three of the last four National League Central titles, the Cardinals and Brewers are once again locked in a tight race atop the division standings, with neither club leading by more than 4 1/2 games so far this year. With each team looking to build some separation, St. Louis is in Milwaukee this week for a four-game series, and you can stream tonight's game for free on MLB.TV, presented by Blue Moon.

The Cardinals received a boost last week with the return of Tuesday's starter, Jack Flaherty, who missed all of March, April and May while recovering from inflammation in his right shoulder that dated back to last season. The right-hander battled nerves in his season debut against the Pirates, needing 60 pitches to get through three innings while allowing three hits and four runs (two earned). But he finished strong and hoped to carry that momentum into his start against the Brewers.

Left-hander Aaron Ashby was originally scheduled to start opposite Flaherty Tuesday, but the Brewers placed him on the injured list on Monday afternoon with left forearm inflammation.

Instead, Brewers spot starter Chi Chi González faces the unenviable task of trying to tame St. Louis’ lineup, with the team ranking fifth in the Majors in runs per game (4.87). Third baseman Nolan Arenado and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt have been at the center of that success, hitting a combined .310/.387/.561 with 29 homers and 103 RBIs, though Goldschmidt was out of the lineup Tuesday with lower back tightness. Shortstop Tommy Edman is also on a tear, batting .342 with two homers, six RBIs and eight runs scored during a nine-game hitting streak.

Although the Brewers’ offense has slowed down recently, the team still ranks third in the Majors with 88 home runs, including 13 each by shortstop Willy Adames and outfielder Hunter Renfroe. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen is also riding a hot streak, slashing .395/.490/.512 over his last 12 games.