The Brewers and Cardinals both shuffled their rotations for this weekend's National League Central showdown, and the changes have created marquee matchups for the final two games of the series, starting with Kyle Lohse against Justin Masterson on Saturday.
Jimmy Nelson had been scheduled to start for Milwaukee on Saturday but was scratched on Friday with a blister, moving Lohse into the spot. The former Cardinal has been a model of consistency for the Brewers this season, sporting an 11-5 record and 3.07 ERA. He's allowed four earned runs over his last three starts, a span of 19 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, will get their first look at right-hander Masterson, one of their newest acquisitions. He had been on the disabled list for three weeks with an inflamed right knee and will look to make a good impression on his new team right away.
"Butterflies are always there," Masterson said of his emotions. "I think until I'm dead and gone, no matter what I'm doing in front of people, butterflies will be there. I think that always reminds you that you're alive, that you're having fun and that's right where you need to be."
Masterson, who had a 4-6 record and 5.51 ERA in Cleveland, said that the stint on the DL gave him a chance to work on his mechanics and get some rest.
"It was great for a combination of both -- to be able to get the mind right, get physically right and just work hard," he said. "When you go on the DL, you think it's a little bit of a breather, but you're working harder than you usually do. It's been nice."
Meanwhile, the Brewers' offense will bear down to face two experienced pitchers, with John Lackey following Masterson on Sunday.
"And they're good ones, too," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Masterson, when he's on with his sinker, he's really tough, especially to right-handers. And Lackey, just the experience in big games, and he can come out when he's got his command and really spot his fastball. And he's huge, so it's not this nice angle to it. And he's got a really good breaking ball. So he's been a big-game pitcher, and certainly has the experience when you're talking about going into the postseason."
The good news for Milwaukee? The hot-and-cold offense has been hot the last two games, scoring three earned runs off David Price on Wednesday and seven off Adam Wainwright on Friday. The win on Friday gave the Brewers a three-game cushion in the division, guaranteeing that they will still be in first place at the end of this three-game set.
Brewers: Crew happy with moves at non-waiver Trade Deadline
Though many thought the Brewers might go after right-handed relief pitching before Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, they made only one move, reeling in Gerardo Parra from the D-backs. Parra brings another great glove, and he can spell any of the three outfielders.
Though some fans were hoping the team would do more, Roenicke is happy with the team's moves.
"Well, it's got to make sense, and I've said that all along," Roenicke said. "You don't do things just because you think you should do them. You do them because they make sense. For St. Louis, I think those two guys were great pickups for them."
Cardinals: Bourjos seeing more time in center field
With Jon Jay injuring his wrist on a check swing in San Diego, Peter Bourjos has been getting more playing time in center field, starting there for three straight games.
Bourjos is 2-for-8 over those three games, and he smacked a ground-rule double in Friday's series opener. He is also a defensive upgrade over Jay, and he showed his defensive prowess with a few nice plays on Friday.
• Ryan Braun and Zach Duke were named the Brewers' player and pitcher of the month for July, respectively.
• The Brewers have 51 quality starts this season, trailing only the Braves in the National League.
• St. Louis' Matt Holliday has been hot since the All-Star break, with four home runs and 10 RBIs. He's batting .263 in that span.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.