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Bryce Elder is in his second year and had a 3.17 ERA over nine starts in 2022
The Cardinals lead the MLB in team average (.356) and hits (53)
Atlanta has five home runs in the series
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We are taking the Cardinals moneyline (-124 at FanDuel Sportsbook) today. They are due to breakout out and are too good to strand this many runners. Look for this veteran lineup to capitalize on Edler's youth to put up a significant number. You can see the bookmakers agree, given the odds and total.
On the mound, Mikolas will bounce back on his home field. His pitching style should cool the Brave's bats and force them to strand runners. The Cardinals bullpen is solid and should be able to pick up after Mikolas leaves the game.
Expect to see Goldschmidt and Arenado both put up big numbers. They are two of the best hitters in the NL and will be able to rattle Elder early. The Astro's bats have been hot but have benefited from playing a weak back half of the St. Louis rotation. Their confidence will backfire, and they will return to Earth as the Cardinal's offense puts up big numbers.
The Braves have looked fantastic and own an impressive 4-1 record to start the series. They have looked to be the better team over the series' first two games. Despite giving up a lot of hits, they have limited a powerful St. Louis lineup to just five runs. On the offense, they have had 22 hits and five home runs against the Cardinals. Now, they will face veteran Mike Mikolas. The St. Louis starter isn't a strikeout threat but focuses on creating weak contact. The Braves have shown good plate discipline, and Mikolas was shelled in his first start, so we could see another big game.
Ronald Acuna Jr has been on fire during the series. The right fielder has gone 5-9 with a home run and three RBIs. He sees the ball well in the leadoff spot, allowing Matt Olson and the rest of the lineup plenty of RB opportunities. The rest of the offense has been split between this talented lineup, showing how deep they are.
The pitching has shown some cracks by failing to miss bats, but they have been doing a great job limiting runs. They have forced St. Louis to leave 18 players on base, an impressive number partly due to their bullpen's play. The bullpen allowed one run in 7 ⅔ innings. 23-year-old Bryce Elder will be making his season debut tonight. He is in his second season and finished 2022 with an impressive 3.17 ERA. He has strikeout stuff and could be in for a breakout season as a rotation member. This will be Elder's first time facing the Braves, which could give him an edge.
The Cardinals now find themself with a 2-3 record after dropping their first two games to the Braves. They have done a great job getting on base but have yet to be able to turn them into runs. It's a reason they lead the MLB in hits and averages but are sixth in RBIs. The good news is this lineup is too good to continue for long. Now they will face a young pitcher in Bryce Elder as they hope to capitalize on their hitting and avoid a sweep.
Paul Goldschmidt has a great series, going 3-7 at the plate with a home run. The whole lineup is hitting, with each player getting logging one in their opening game. The problem has been converting them into runs. It's hurt them, but this lineup is too good for it to continue. With the heart of the lineup containing Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Wilson Contreras, this team will score many runs. Don't be surprised to see it happen today.
While the bullpen looked pretty solid, Steven Matz and Jake Woodford struggled in their starts. They gave up ten combined runs and put the Cardinals down early in both games. The good news is that their back to the top of their rotation, with Mike Mikolas taking the ball tonight. He was awful in his first start, getting pulled in the fourth inning after allowing five runs on ten hits. Still, the veteran posted an impressive 2.38 ERA at home last season and is the guy the Cardinals want on the mound.
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What: Atlanta Braves vs St. Louis Cardinals
When: Wednesday, April 4 at 1:15 PM EST
Where: Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri
How to Watch: Bally Sports Midwest, Bally Sports South, MLB.TV
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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