The Milwaukee Brewers have been the best team in the NL Central in recent weeks.

Unfortunately for the Brewers, the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals have been right there with them.

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Milwaukee is 11-3 since beating the Cardinals 4-1 on Aug. 28 and has won seven straight, moving into a tie for the second wild-card spot with wins over the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins.

The Brewers have gained just a game and a half on the Cardinals over that span.

They’ve kept winning despite losing star outfielder Christian Yelich to a fractured kneecap in the first inning Tuesday. The reigning MVP leaves a major hole near the top of the Brewers’ lineup.

Yelich leads the Brewers with 161 hits from the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the batting order. The other 20 Brewers batters to hit No. 2 or No. 3 are batting a combined .243 in those spots.

Catcher Yasmani Grandal and third baseman Mike Moustakas hit 2-3 on Wednesday, while Grandal and outfielder Ryan Braun occupied those spots Thursday.

Yelich ranks fourth in average exit velocity this season at 93.1 mph and powered the Brewers to the top of the league. Milwaukee leads the NL in average exit velocity at 90.3 mph.

Brewers right-hander Adrian Houser is back on the mound for Friday’s series opener.

Houser has a 2.81 ERA since returning to the rotation July 30. And while he hasn’t made it out of the fifth inning over his last two starts, Houser has improved significantly in his latest stint as a starter.

Adrian Houser, before and after bullpen stint, 2019

First 6 starts Last 8 starts
Record 0-4 2-1
Innings per start 3.2 5.1
ERA 7.83 2.81
WHIP 2.00 1.15
Opponent BA .360 .229
Strikeouts 21 45

Statistics via Sportradar

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