However, to achieve the sweep, the Cardinals -- now 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers in the National League Central -- will turn to rookie Brandon Dickson, who will make his first Major League start. The right-hander, who opened eyes during Spring Training, will be the only prospect called up by St. Louis on Thursday, when the rosters expand. Dickson, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006, was 8-9 with a 3.95 ERA in 26 appearances (25 starts) with Triple-A Memphis.
"I think he'll be nervous, but I don't think he'll be scared," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
Dickson advanced through the Minors with a blend of poise and a ground-ball, sinkerball approach that the big league field staff believes will play well against the powerful Brewers lineup.
"He goes about [the game] the right way," said Cardinals acting pitching coach Derek Lilliquist. "He does his work, keeps his mouth shut."
One Brewers player somewhat familiar with Dickson is Taylor Green. The third baseman faced Dickson in the Pacific Coast League before he was called up from Triple-A Nashville four days ago.
"To me, all of [the Cardinals'] pitchers are pretty similar; fastball-slider guys," Green said. "I remember him being pretty tough on us."
Green -- who notched a pinch-hit single in his first Major League at-bat on Wednesday -- and the rest of the Brewers will back up Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo is 2-0 in his last three starts, and has given up just three earned runs over 22 innings with 25 strikeouts against only four walks. The right-hander surrendered five runs (four earned) over five innings in his last start against St. Louis on Aug. 11.
Cardinals: Molina wraps up hot August
Yadier Molina enters Thursday's action having recorded six multi-hit games in his last 11 starts, en route to a very productive August in which he hit .342 (25-for-73) with four home runs and 11 RBIs. Though catchers tend to wear down at this point in the season, Molina's August follows up a July effort during which he also homered four times and drove in 11 runs. The Cardinals' backstop is hitting .333 (40-for-120) since the All-Star break, after hitting .282 (77-for-273) in the first half.
Brewers: Hart's hitting streak
Corey Hart has hit safely in 13 straight games, with a multi-hit game in four of his last five games and seven of his last 13. He is hitting .396 (21-for-53) during that stretch with four home runs, six RBIs and 14 runs scored. Hart scored a run in six consecutive games from Aug. 19-23. His hit streak boosted his average from .267 to .285.
The Brewers close August with a 21-7 record, which tied the franchise record for wins in any month. The last Brewers squad to achieve a 21-win month was the 1978 Brewers, who went 21-9 in June that year.
Milwaukee dropped consecutive home games for only the second time this season. The Brewers did not drop two straight home games until their 42nd game -- the longest streak to begin a season since the 1996 Yankees (46 games).