The Milwaukee Brewers will turn to young left-hander Aaron Ashby to try and salvage a split when they close their first home series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday at American Family Field.

The 23-year-old Ashby (0-1, 1.80 ERA), on the Opening Day roster for the first time, makes his first start of the season after two relief appearances, while the Cardinals counter with right-hander Dakota Hudson (0-0, 6.75 ERA).

After dropping the series opener 5-1, St. Louis bounced back with a 10-1 victory Friday and then held off the Brewers 2-1 on Saturday night, behind a strong start by Steven Matz.

In addition to scoring just one run in each of the two losses to St. Louis, the Brewers also have been shut out twice in their five defeats this season.

Despite the lack of offense, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said he doesn’t think hitters are pressing.

“We’ve just got to get the right pitch, we’ve got to put good swings on it, we’ve got to find some holes and that’s going to get us out of this. That’s cliches, but that’s how it works,” Counsell said. “I don’t see pressing going on. We’ve got to create a little more offense, for sure. It’s really just when you get pitches to hit, we’ve got to do something.”

Matz, who struggled in his first start, allowed three hits with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday for his first victory with St. Louis.

Milwaukee’s only run came on an eighth-inning solo homer by No. 9 hitter Victor Caratini, acquired as catching help from San Diego on April 6.

St. Louis won six of the last seven games last season against the Brewers, including the last four in Milwaukee. The Cardinals are eyeing a third straight victory to close the first leg of a 10-game road trip.

“We’re looking to beat them every game,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “We’re not satisfied with the one loss we have and we’re looking to win them all.”

Ashby took the loss in relief on Opening Day against the Cubs, giving up one run on three hits in 1 2/3 innings. In his only other outing, he tossed 3 1/3 scoreless relief innings against the Orioles on Monday.

Ashby, the nephew of ex-big league pitcher Andy Ashby, was 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in three relief appearances last season against the Cardinals.

Hudson allowed three runs on five hits in four innings in his first start, a 6-5 victory over Kansas City. Hudson last faced the Brewers on Aug. 19, 2019 in St. Louis when he carried a no-hitter two outs into the seventh inning.

Hudson is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in six career games vs. Milwaukee, including three starts.

By leading throughout in the last two games, the Cardinals have prevented the Brewers from using the backend strength of their bullpen — Brad Boxberger, Devin Williams and closer Josh Hader, who needs one save to reach 100. Hader has been NL Reliever of the Year three of the last four seasons, with Williams winning in 2020.

“That’s the goal when you come here is keep them out of the game,” Marmol said. “We’ve been able to do that.”

–Field Level Media