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Cardinals vs. Brewers preview

It's only the second game of the season, so there is only so much significance in the standings that can be assigned to the Cardinals' Friday tilt against the Milwaukee Brewers.

But it's going to be really interesting to see what happens in the first meeting between the two clubs since the Redbirds showed their heated rival the door in the 2011 post season. And it could set the tone for a season-long battle between the two clubs.

Milwaukee fans didn't need much more reason to resent St. Louis. After all, the Cardinals have beaten the Brewers in the two most significant series in the history of that franchise: The 1982 World Series, which is the only time the Brewers have ever played in the Fall Classic, and the 2011 National League Championship Series, the closest they've been to World Series glory ever since.

But there is the school of thought that maybe tensions between the clubs may have piped down a bit thanks to the fact that serveral of the key aggitators -- Tony La Russa, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols -- are no longer in the picture.

I doubt that's going to be the case. First, Nyjer Morgan is still stirring the Milwaukee pot. If the Brewers start playing bean ball games or getting mouthy, don't think for a moment that new St. Louis skipper Mike Matheny is going to be a pushover. And, judging from comments from both sides, it doesn't seem like the remaining participants have forgotten about the past tensions.

“I don’t think it’ll change,” Brewers opening day starter Yovani Gallardo told Yahoo sports. “They’re competitive. They play hard. That’s the kind of team that they have, and it’s the kind of team that we have. So there’s always going to be a lot more excitement going on when two teams face each other that are very competitive and leave everything out on the field.”

Gallardo, who is 1-7 in his career against the Cardinals with a 5.66 ERA, will face Jaime Garcia in the opener. Garcia is 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA against the Brewers.

In the second game of the set, Zack Greinke 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA against St. Louis will face Adam Wainwright who is 7-4 lifetime against Milwaukee with a 2.06 ERA.

Randy Wolf, 8-8 with a 3.91 ERA in his career against the Cardinals, will face Lance Lynn in the finale. Lynn has never started a game against the Brewers. But he has pitched against them in relief and hasn't allowed a run in two innings of work.