The St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves will face off in the third game of a four game set at Truist Park.
Atlanta took the first two games of the series, led by strong pitching performances from Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson. They are now 2.5 games back in the NL Central.
Tonight’s matchup features a compelling pitching matchup. Max Fried (8-2, 2.66 ERA) will take the mound for the Braves, while the Cardinals will trot out Miles Mikolas (5-6, 2.61 ERA).
Fried and Mikolas have been dynamite this season, but we will see which team has the better edge on the mound during tonight’s nationally televised game on ESPN.
Let’s take a look at the angles for this NL showdown.
Fried Fries and Swanson Stars
An imposing left-hander, Fried does it all. He ranks in the top 10 percent in the league in barrel rate, and the top five percent in chase rate and walk rate.
Fried has been virtually untouchable in last seven starts, touting a 1.97 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.
The right-handed Cardinals attack of MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado has damaged lefties this season, but Fried is a different animal. If the Cardinals get three runs off Fried, they should be happy.
Atlanta is coming off a June in which they won 21 games. With splashy free agent signing Matt Olson getting off to a slow start, Ronald Acuna Jr. missing nearly all of April, and Ozzie Albies expected to be out until September, Dansby Swanson has stepped up this season in a big way.
The former first overall pick is announcing himself. He has nine hits in his last four games and sports a .898 OPS. Atlanta’s June turnaround is a result of Swanson’s productivity and elite pitching from Fried and Wright.
Mikolas Looks to Stop Braves
The Cardinals’ ace has been stellar in last five starts, earning seven runs. Three of those starts came on the road against venerable offenses in the Tampa Bay Rays, Philadelphia Phillies, and Milwaukee Brewers.
Although his Baseball Savant page does not look great, with a very low whiff rate and below average strikeout percentage, Mikolas has been consistent. He is kryptonite for the Braves, holding a 2.61 ERA in 20 career innings against them.
Mikolas has not faced these Braves this year, so it remains to be seen if he will continue his dominance.
The Cardinals have not played well as of late, going 1-5 in their last six. The bats have sputtered, but they have faced top-tier pitching in Sandy Alcantara, Zack Wheeler, and Wright.
Goldschmidt has shown no signs of slowing down. He has the highest OBP (.423), the highest offensive WAR (4.5), the most total bases (185), and the most runs created (82) in baseball. Needless to say, the St. Louis slugger is really good at baseball.
And so is Arenado. The six-time All-Star is having another solid campaign and has picked up steam recently, going 11 for his last 20.
Although the Cardinals bats can come alive and the Braves can easily light up Mikolas, the under looks like the play tonight.
Both pitchers are supported by a strong bullpen, and I do not see either of them having a stinker.
Take the under 8.5 (+100 at Caesars Sportsbook) and enjoy a quality pitching duel.
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