Atlanta Braves @ St. Louis Cardinals
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Mo

Braves 19-12, 11-8 away. 2nd place in N.L. East, .5 games behind Washington Nationals.

– Braves are 3rd in N.L. in runs scored (164), 5th in B.A. (.265)
– LF Martin Prado to play in series.
– Chipper’s last trip to Busch Stadium. – Cardinals won 5 of 6 against Braves in 2011.

Cardinals 20-11, 8-4 @ home. 1st place in N.L. Central.

– Took Wild Card lead during Braves’ epic collapse in 2011.
– Coming off series sweep of Arizona Diamondbacks.
– Longtime Braves nemisis Lance Berkman to come off disabled list with strained left calf.
– Leagues National League in wins (20) joining Tampa Bay Rays & Texas Rangers atop MLB.
– Beltran 2nd in league with 10 home runs. Jon Jay 3rd in N.L. with .379 ERA, Furcal 5th with .361 ERA.
– Retiring former manager Tony LaRussa’s number.

Probable Starters:
Friday: 8:15 — Mike Minor (LHP 2-2 5.97 ERA) V. Jaime Garcia (2-2, 3.76 ERA)
Saturday: Brandon Beachy (RHP 3-2, 1.62 ERA) V. Adam Wainwright (RHP, 2-3, 5.61 ERA)
Sunday: Tommy Hanson (RHP 3-3, 3.63 ERA) V. Lance Lynn (6-0, 1.40 ERA)

Team Leaders:
B.A. Bourne .319
HR: Freeman 6
Steals: Bourne 6
RBI: Freeman 26

Wins: Beachy 3
ERA: Beachy 1.62
K: Hanson 34
SV: Kimbrel 10

B.A. Jon Jay .379
HR: Carlos Beltran 10
Steals: Rafael Furcal 6
RBI: CarlosBeltran 27

Wins: Lance Lynn 6
ERA: Lynn 1.40
K: Lynn 37
SV: Motte 6


In order for the Braves to be taken seriously, they will have to defend their pride against division leader St. Louis this weekend. The Cardinals took over the Wild Card lead while the Braves crumbled last fall. The Braves now face the best team in the National League in one of the best baseball cities in America. New Cardinals manager Mike Matheny seems to be picking up right where future Hall of Famer Tony LaRussa left off. The absence of perinnial All Star Albert Puljos and the slow start of Matt Holiday has not seemed to slow addition Carlos Beltran, Jon Jay and former Brave shortstop Rafael Furcal down. In the top offensive categories in the N.L., a series with a lot of runs (Braves are 3rd in N.L. with 166 runs) will be expected. The Cardinals also have the pitching that will give the Braves something to work against this weekend. Despite injuries to ace Chris Carpenter and a slow start for Adam Wainwright, the Cards still are atop MLB in team ERA (2ND PLACE WITH 3.07 ERA). The Cardinals staff has filled the void of Carpenter with Ole Miss Alum Lance Lynn, who comes into his Friday start with no losses. This series features two of the beat players in the game, the Braves have Brian McCann, while the Cards have Yadier Molina.

The Braves will either rose to the occasion or become a middle of the pack team depending on the outcome of this series. If they want to be a factor in th National League down the stretch, winning two of three in St. Louis must happen.



Information used in this article from Braves.MLB.com, cardinals.MLB.com, AJC.COM, ESPN.COM.

posted from Bloggeroid


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