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The St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves will square off in the second game of their series here. The Braves have been streaky recently, while the Cardinals have just been going through a rough patch overall. Michael Wacha will start for the Cardinals, while Mike Soroka will be on the mound for the Braves. Oddsmakers have the Braves as modest favorites here.
The Cardinals started off hot and had one of the best records in the league for a while. They’ve had a rough go of it recently though, and have lost nine of their last 11 games entering this series. Particularly concerning was the fact that they just lost each of their last three games to the lowly Pirates, and that was at home. As they look to get things back on track, they’ll have Michael Wacha on the mound here. Wacha struggled with injuries last year, and he’s regressed significantly in 2019. Through seven starts he has an ERA of 5.35, and a very high WHIP of 1.65. He hasn’t had control of his pitches, walking 22 batters in just 37 innings. He’s given up at least four runs in each of his last two starts, and Wacha always pitches worse on the road.
In fact, the Cardinals are just 3-9 in Wacha’s last 12 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The offense is also very concerning, as outside of one outburst they’ve been ice cold. If you take out their 17 run outlier a few games ago against the Pirates, they’ve mustered just nine total runs over their other five most recent games, and they scored one or zero runs in four of those contests. Wacha just doesn’t have it right now, and oddsmakers are probably being a bit generous to St. Louis with this line.
Braves Picking It Up?
The Braves came out of nowhere to win the NL East last season, so expectations were understandably high heading into 2019. It looked like they had a bit of a hangover from their success last season, as they got off to a rocky start this year.
They’ve been underachieving, although they’ve been showing signs of snapping out of it recently. Entering this series, they had won three games in a row. Fortunately for them, they’ll have Mike Soroka on the mound here as they look to turn the mini-momentum into something real. Soroka has been one of the biggest bright spots on the team, as the 21-year-old enters with a 1.21 ERA through five starts. The former top prospect showed a ton of promise last year at the age of 20, so his progression isn’t surprising.
30 Seconds of Mike Soroka Sinkers. pic.twitter.com/hu2Lbyts5n
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 5, 2019
He’s striking out over a batter an inning and has only given up 20 hits in 29 and 2/3 innings. He still hasn’t given up a home run, and he’s averaging less than one earned run per start. It’s been a dominant start to the season, and he’ll have the comfort of pitching at home here against an offense that has been struggling. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m really high on Soroka. The Braves’ lineup is starting to wake up, and the team is 6-2 in Soroka’s last eight starts.
- 6-2 in Soroka’s last 8 starts
- 17-5 in their last 22 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- 7-2 in their last 9 games vs. a right-handed starter
- 5-0 in their last 5 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
- 1-5 in their last 6 overall
- 3-9 in Wacha’s last 12 road starts vs. a team with a winning record
- 2-5 in their last 7 games vs. Braves
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I think the Braves are being undervalued here. Atlanta doesn’t hit lefties very well, but they’ve still been good against righties like Wacha. They’re a much better team at home, and Soroka has been lights out here. The Cardinals have been in free-fall recently, so the Braves should be much larger favorites here.
Prediction: Braves -140
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the under a lot. Soroka has been truly dominant, and he’s averaging less than one earned run per start. Neither offense has been good recently, and the under is a perfect 4-0 in Soroka’s last four home starts. Even in their wins the Braves’ lineup hasn’t looked great, so this one should be pretty low scoring.