Brewers on the outside as they try to avoid sweep vs. Cards

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

(AP) -- ST. LOUIS -- For the first time in weeks, the Milwaukee Brewers find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff race.

They have nobody to blame for themselves.

Milwaukee has lost 10 of its last 15 games, including the first two of a three-game set at St. Louis this weekend and will try to avoid a sweep Sunday afternoon when they take on the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis took the first two games of the series, continuing a torrid run though the schedule that leaves them a half-game ahead of Milwaukee for the second National League wild-card spot.

It's the first time since April 30 that the Brewers were not in playoff position.

"Obviously, the mood is probably not where we want it," Brewers pitcher Wade Miley said. "We kind of got our tails kicked the last couple of nights, even in Chicago. We've got to realize it's now or never. We've got to go. Not to put a lot of pressure on us but we've got to play better."

They'll turn to right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (12-4, 3.72 ERA) to stop the bleeding Sunday. He's been Milwaukee's most consistent starter this season but has struggled in nine career outings (eight starts) against St. Louis, going 0-7 with a 6.90 ERA.

Milwaukee is hoping those numbers will be trumped by his recent run of overall success. He comes into the game having held five of his last six opponents to three runs or fewer, including a marvelous outing in Chicago earlier in the week when he held the Cubs scoreless over seven innings at Wrigley Field.

Things on the other side of Busch Stadium are significantly more light-hearted at the moment.

The Cardinals have won 10 of their last 11 games, including a 7-2 decision Saturday night and sit 12 games over .500 with seven consecutive series victories and with a slim hold on what was an unlikely playoff spot when manager Mike Matheny was fired last month.

"We don't worry about that," left fielder Marcell Ozuna said. "It's all about winning, winning, winning, winning. And, at the end, we'll see what happens."

John Gant gets the ball as the Cardinals go for a sweep. The right-hander allowed one run and hit a two-run homer in his last time out in a victory over the Nationals.

Through 18 appearances this season, Gant is 5-4 with a 3.74 ERA including a 3-4 mark and 4.03 ERA in 11 starts this season.

He was burned for six runs in a four-inning start at Pittsburgh on Aug. 3 but has allowed one earned run in each of his last two outings while striking out 10 over 11 1/3 innings.

Gant worked two innings of relief against the Brewers earlier this season, allowing a run, two hits and four walks in a 3-2 loss at St. Louis on May 30.

Updated August 19, 2018