Atlanta Braves (51-61 SU, 59-53 RL, 57-51-4 O/U) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (59-56 SU, 55-60 RL, 57-51-7 O/U)
MLB: Friday, August 11, 2017 at 8:15 p.m. EST
The Line: St. Louis Cardinals -150/Atlanta Braves +135. Total: 9.
The St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves will begin a three-game series when they square off at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Friday night. Atlanta is 4-13 in its last 17 contests, including a disastrous 0-6 against Philadelphia. The Cardinals have won six in a row and are coming off a four-game sweep of Kansas City.
Foltynewicz in fine form
The Braves flirted with .500 in the days after the all-star break, but after closing July with 11 losses in 14 games have opened August by going 3-5. Atlanta is batting .239 this month with a .295 on-base percentage, averaging only 3.5 runs per contest. Center fielder Ender Inciarte had his 13-game hitting streak snapped in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Philadelphia, as Atlanta scored two runs or fewer for the third game in a row.
Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (10-6, 3.94 ERA) is taking the mound for Atlanta on Friday. Foltynewicz established a career high in victories Saturday by striking out a career-best 11 hitters with no walks in a win over Miami. He is 7-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 12 starts since the beginning of June–Atlanta winning 10 of those contests–with 74 strikeouts in 70.1 innings.
Fowler on the prowl
The Cardinals elected not to become sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline, and now they’ve surged into contention in the National League Central. They have clawed within 1.5 games of the division-leading Chicago Cubs after many thought they would be sellers at the deadline. Dexter Fowler has returned to the lineup just in time. Fowler belted a grand slam in Thursday’s 8-6 victory over Kansas City in his fourth contest back from the disabled list. He drove in five runs in Thursday’s win–the sixth in a row for St. Louis–and is 6-for-13 with five extra-base hits, five RBIs, six walks, and seven runs scored since recovering from a strained right forearm muscle.
Adam Wainwright (11-5, 5.00 ERA) will oppose Foltynewicz on Friday. The right-hander struggled early in the season but since has regained the form that has made him one of the National League’s premier pitchers. He has won 11 of his past 13 decisions but gave up three runs in three innings of a no-decision Sunday against Cincinnati.
The Atlanta Braves are:
- 3-10 in their last 13 overall
- 0-5 in their last five road games
- 2-6 in their last eight games against teams with winning records
The St. Louis Cardinals are:
- 5-0 in their last five overall
- 8-2 in their last 10 home games
- 4-0 in their last four games against right-handed starters
Foltynewicz was hammered for seven runs in four innings of a loss to the Cardinals on May 5 in Atlanta. Wainwright is 8-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 17 career games (12 starts) against Atlanta, which drafted the Georgia native in the first round of the 2000 draft. The Cardinals outscored the Braves 21-7 in sweeping a three-game series May 5-7 in Atlanta. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina is hitting .382 in 10 games this month with four homers (including a grand slam) and 10 RBIs, and has scored at least one run in the past five games. Atlanta is 3-10 in its last 13 overall, 0-5 in its last five on the road, 2-6 in its last eight against winning opponents, and 2-8 in their last 10 against right-handed starters. The Cardinals are 5-0 in their last five overall, 8-2 in their last 10 at home, 4-0 in their last four against right-handed starters, 7-2 in the last nine meetings between the two teams, and 9-3 in Wainwright’s last 12 starts against the Braves. Look for those trends to continue.