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Cardinals Vs. Brewers: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder Losses Set Opening Day Tone

The St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers get ready for an NLCS rematch—with two first basemen looming large.

Presswire

However things shake out when the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers meet in Miller Park for Friday's Opening Day matchup, it's unlikely to look much like the Cardinals vs. Brewers NLCS matchup we saw last October. For one thing, the Cardinals aren't likely to get most of their innings out of relief pitchers; for another, both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder will be gone from lineups that look drastically different than they did six months ago. Young aces Yovani Gallardo and Jaime Garcia will match up in Game 1 of the series, for which a World Series berth is not part of the spoils, so far as I know.

Player to watch, St. Louis: 2010 20-game-winner Adam Wainwright will start Saturday's afternoon game against Zack Greinke, marking his official return to the rotation after a year off following elbow surgery. In the lineup, the Cardinals are still deciding between Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene in an unresolved infield contest.

Player to watch, Milwaukee: Mat Gamel is going to get the bulk of time at first base for the Brewers, and he has a big uniform to fill.

For more coverage, check out SB Nation's Cardinals and Brewers blogs, Viva El Birdos and Brew Crew Ball, or follow along here at SB Nation St. Louis.