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The St. Louis Cardinals will host the Atlanta Braves in the second game of their weekend series here. It’ll be nationally televised on FOX, with Mike Soroka pitching for the Braves while Dakota Hudson takes the mound for the Brewers. Oddsmakers have this game as virtually even, so it should be a good one.
Braves rounding into form
The Braves shockingly came out of nowhere to win the NL East last year, so expectations were understandably high heading into 2019. They got off to a bit of a slow start though, but that now looks like a thing of the past.
They’ve been playing very well recently, and have climbed back into contention in the NL East. They’ve won seven of their last nine games and are 6-1 in their last seven road games, so they clearly won’t have any trouble playing away from home here. Atlanta will have Mike Soroka on the mound, a 21-year-old who has been arguably the best pitcher in the majors this year. Through seven starts Soroka has only given up five total runs, and he enters with a 1.01 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. Soroka has been nearly untouchable, and the Braves are 5-1 in his last six starts. In addition to Soroka, their offense is also scary at the moment. Top prospect Austin Riley just got called up, and he’s already hit five home runs in his first nine games.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 23, 2019
This Braves lineup is absolutely loaded, and getting to face a pitcher like Hudson here surely has them licking their chops. Not surprisingly, the Braves are 8-0 in their last 8 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30. Putting Riley next to Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman in the lineup is just unfair, and I’d have a really hard time betting against them right now.
The Cardinals have been having a decent enough season, entering this series at 25-24, but they’ve been up and down and unable to break out. They’ve really been struggling lately, winning only five of their last 19 games entering this series.
They’re even just 1-4 in their last five home games. They’ll have Dakota Hudson on the mound, who hasn’t been too good so far. Hudson enters this one with a 4.40 ERA, and the numbers indicate he’s fortunate just to have that. He has an absurd WHIP of 1.70, which says his ERA should be quite a bit higher. Something doesn’t look right with Hudson, and he’s been giving up a ton of hits. I’m also not too optimistic about how St. Louis’ lineup is going to fare here. The Cardinals already faced Soroka once this year, and it didn’t go too well. The Cardinals played the Braves a couple of weeks back and Soroka blanked them, tossing seven scoreless innings against this St. Louis lineup.
The Cards also haven’t fared well in this matchup recently, losing seven of the last ten times they’ve played the Braves. Outside of a few outbursts, the offense hasn’t looked good overall. Soroka has looked un-hittable this season and the Cardinals have been terrible the past few weeks even with a pretty easy schedule, so I’m not sure how anyone could play the Cardinals here, even at home.
- 1-4 in their last 5 home games
- 5-14 in their last 19 overall
- 5-11 in their last 16 games vs. a right-handed starter
- 5-1 in Soroka’s last 6 starts
- 6-1 in their last 7 road games
- 8-0 in their last 8 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Getting the Braves at even money here is an absolute steal. Soroka has been arguably the best pitcher in the majors this season, and he already dominated this Cardinals lineup when he faced them a couple of weeks ago. The Cards are just 5-14 in their last 19 games, and with the much worse pitcher on the mound here, you can’t even consider them.
Prediction: Braves -110
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the under here, mostly because I can’t possibly consider anything else in a game involving Soroka right now. He’s averaging giving up less than one earned run per start, so a total of nine seems way too high. If Hudson can just hold his own, which he should, this game will easily go under.
Prediction: Under 9