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It’s a really tempting spot to take St. Louis, who despite losing five of six and eight of its last 12, is only three games back in the NL Central. Atlanta has won eight consecutive games when Max Fried starts, but the Cardinals hit lefties (.266) very well.
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Garcia’s 2022 record: (24-16)
The Cardinals and Braves both have some of the top offenses in baseball, but each will have to contend with the ace of playoff caliber opponent on Wednesday.
For St. Louis, Miles Mikolas takes the mound, who just last month was one strike away from throwing a no-hitter. The 33-year-old is enjoying another stellar season, even if his win-loss record isn’t nearly reflective of how good he’s been.
Mikolas is 5-6 on the year, but ranks 12th in all of baseball with a 2.61 ERA and is 11th with a 0.99 WHIP and his advanced numbers are elite. Mikolas ranks in the top third of baseball in expected ERA, average exit velocity, hard hit rate and walk rate.
Meanwhile for the Braves, Max Fried has nearly identical numbers though he’s fared much better in the win column. The lefty is 8-2 overall for the Braves and comes in 15th in baseball with a 2.66 ERA and 14th in WHIP at 1.03. He has 96 strikeouts in 101.1 innings as he does a fantastic job getting deep into games.
Fried has gone six innings or more in 13 of his past 14 games and threw 5.2 innings the lone time he failed to do so. During that stretch, 12 of his 14 starts have been quality starts and 11 times he’s given up one run or fewer.
The Braves are 12-4 in Fried’s 16 starts with eight consecutive victories.
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For most offenses, trying to score against these two aces is a next-to-impossible task. But for two of the best offenses in the National League, don’t be surprised if they’re able to put runs on the board.
The Braves are tops in all of baseball in slugging percentage (.441), fifth in runs scored (384) and 11th in batting average. They have seven different players who have hit 10 or more home runs, seven players have driven in 30 RBIs and six players with a WAR of 1.2 or better.
THe point is, the lineup is deep and talented and still largely effective against right-handed pitching, with a team .737 OPS.
The Cardinals offense is also loaded. St. Louis is in the top 10 in runs scored (3rd), batting average (6th), slugging percentage (10th) and on-base percentage (10th). St. Louis only has three players with double-digit home runs and RBIs but their top three players have been so dominant the Cardidnals haven’t needed as much depth.
Paul Goldschmidt (4.4), Tommy Edman (4.2) and Nolan Arenado (4.1) are the top three position players in all of baseball in WAR, worth a combined 12.7 extra wins for the Cardinals this season. Incredible.
For St. Louis, picking one of the big three is too easy. Instead, we’re going to choose Dylan Carlson. The right fielder is batting .347 (17-for-49) with a .385 OBP and .976 OPS.
For Atlanta, we’re looking at Dansby Swanson who absolutely rakes at home. The former Vanderbilt star is batting .344 (54-for-157) at Truist Park with 20 extra-base hits and a team best 1.003 OPS. Don’t be surprised if he finds success vs Mikolas.
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|Cardinals vs Braves Information
|St. Louis Cardinals vs Atlanta Braves
|Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
|Wednesday, July 6, 7:10 p.m. EST
|How to watch
Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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