Cards' goal is containing Braun, Fielder

Cards' goal is containing Braun, Fielder

MILWAUKEE -- Over the course of 18 meetings in the regular season, the Cardinals saw a slew of different Brewers come up with big hits against them. Yet rarely were those hitters named "Braun" or "Fielder." St. Louis will be looking to contain Milwaukee's top two hitters again in the playoffs.

The heart of the Brewers' order is as dangerous as any in either league. However, lineup depth is less of a strength for Milwaukee. For the most part, teams that control Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder can beat the Brewers.

That wasn't exactly the case for the Cards, who mostly kept Braun and Fielder quiet -- but got burned by Corey Hart, Casey McGehee, Nyjer Morgan and even Yuniesky Betancourt during the year. But the strategy remains in place.

"I don't care if it's a regular-season contest, [National] League Championship Series," manager Tony La Russa said. "You know, they had the season lead on us for a while because they shut down some of our key hitters. And then we did better later on shutting their guys down, so it evened up. The key guys are the ones the club is built around, and if they produce, [it's a] lift. And if you can get them out, it makes it tougher. So your attitude is the same. Their attitude is the same. We hope our guys are hot and theirs are not."

Braun batted .225 with a .267 on-base percentage, a .366 slugging percentage, two homers and seven RBIs in 71 at-bats against St. Louis this year. Fielder had a .233/.377/.417 line, with three homers and 11 RBIs in 60 at-bats.