The Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals will continue a three-game series when they clash at SunTrust Park in Atlanta on Wednesday night. St. Louis was a horrendous 2-9 in its last 11 contests heading into the opener on Tuesday. The Braves recently halted a four-game skid by winning three straight against Arizona.
Bats not rolling, Cardinals reeling
St. Louis manager Mike Shildt continues to preach patience, but he knows his team must play better starting with this current a six-game road trip that touches off in Atlanta. The Cardinals have lost nine of their past 11 games to sink to fourth place in the National League Central following Sunday’s 10-6 home loss to Pittsburgh. They are hitting .238 as a team during this stretch while scoring one run or fewer six times and have allowed at least 10 runs on three occasions. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt homered in the first inning on Sunday, snapping an 18-game drought and giving him his first dinger of the season against a left-handed pitcher.
“I can confidently tell this is a group that I have zero doubt about,” Shildt said following Sunday’s setback, which dropped his team to 22-19 on the season. “It is an ebb and flow of the season. Don’t want to overreact, and don’t want to under-react.”
Right-hander Michael Wacha (3-0, 5.35 ERA) is taking the mound for St. Louis on Wednesday. As the numbers suggest, Wacha is getting a ton of run support and is thus sporting a perfect record despite a bloated ERA. The 27-year-old has not pitched more than 6.0 innings in any start this season and he has reached the 6.0 mark only twice. He allowed four runs in 5.0 innings against the Cubs in his first May outing and then surrendered the same number to Pittsburgh in 5.2 innings of work last Thursday.
Pitchers packing a punch
The Braves faced a difficult 10-game road swing that featured a four-game losing streak, but they rallied with three victories in a row to close out a four-game series at Arizona. Atlanta was off Monday–its first off day after 20 games in 20 days–and its starting pitchers finished the road trip with a 3.80 ERA with five quality starts.
“We limited damage, guys made pitches, made plays,” manager Brian Snitker said following Sunday’s 5-3 victory that raised his team’s record to 21-20. “It just shows, the whole series, they were a hit or two away each game from just blowing the game open and, fortunately, our guys made pitches and plays.”
Back home 😎 pic.twitter.com/Jdq9prWeNw
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 14, 2019
Mike Soroka (3-1, 1.21 ERA) will oppose Wacha on Wednesday. The right-hander’s rookie season is off to an incredible start, with no more than one run allowed in at least 5.0 innings of work in all five of his appearances. Soroka most recently went up against Arizona last Thursday, when he tossed 6.0 innings of one-run baseball on four hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts during a 3-2 setback.
The St. Louis Cardinals are:
- 1-5 in their last six overall
- 0-4 in their last four road games
- 1-4 in their last five games against right-handed starters
The Atlanta Braves are:
- 7-2 in their last nine games against right-handed starters
- 17-5 in their last 22 home games against teams with losing road records
- 5-0 in their last five games against starters with WHIPs over 1.30