Game: Atlanta Braves @ St. Louis Cardinals
Time: 7:45 p.m.
Odds: Braves -130, Cardinals +120
The Cardinals lineup scored 22 runs over the weekend, helping St. Louis defeat the Toronto Blue Jays in two of three games. As they continue their homestand against the Atlanta Braves tonight, the Cardinals will attempt to maintain their ability to score runs. St. Louis leads the majors right now with a team batting average of .373.
Both rookie outfielder Jordan Walker (4-for-12, two RBIs) and free agent catcher Willson Contreras (4-for-8, three runs scored this season) were added to St. Louis’ lineup. After making offseason adjustments at the plate, second-year infielders Brendan Donovan (5-for-14, two home runs, five runs, four RBIs) and Nolan Gorman (4-for-9, two home runs, six RBIs) have had successful starts.
Oliver Marmol, manager of the Cardinals, is pleased with the early results. The Cards have been making hard contact and making things difficult for opposing pitchers. Braves manager Brian Snitker understands how good St. Louis really is.
Tonight though, Atlanta may have an advantage. The Braves will start this series with right-hander Charlie Morton, who was 9-6 with a 4.34 ERA in 31 starts last season. The Braves won two of three games at Washington to start their season, winning 7-2 and 7-1 before losing 4-1 on Sunday.
Morton struggled in the first few months of 2022 as he recovered from a broken leg, but from mid-June through September he had a 14-game winning streak with an ERA of 2.84 over 85 2/3 innings. He has made 20 career starts against the Cardinals and is 3-12 with a 5.33 ERA, so they have not been his favorite team over the years. Nolan Arenado has had the most success against Morton of the current Cardinals (5-for-19, three doubles, a home run, and three RBIs).
Right-hander Jake Woodford, who was inserted into the rotation to take the place of Adam Wainwright while he recovers from a groin muscle strain, will take the mound for the Cardinals. In 2022, Woodford made 26 of his 27 appearances out of the bullpen and went 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA. In his one career appearance against the Braves, he gave up one run on two hits and two walks in two innings. Woodford was ready to step up after a strong spring training, throwing 17 2/3 innings with 18 strikeouts, 5 walks, and 4 runs on 13 hits allowed.
The Cardinals were without outfielder Lars Nootbaar (jammed thumb) and reliever Giovanny Gallegos (back spasms) on Sunday, but they might be available on Monday. The Braves lineup is healthy and ready to go tonight.
The Braves are 8-3 SU in the last 11 games against the Cardinals. They also have a penchant for scoring runs against St. Louis. In the past ten head-to-head meetings, Atlanta has averaged 5.88 runs per game. Over the last three, the Braves are averaging 6.33. In the last five straight against the Cardinals in St. Louis, the total has gone Over. Four of Atlanta’s last six road games have gone Over as have five of the Cardinals’ last seven.
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