Braves vs. Cardinals Series Preview

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Brian Snitker’s club won their first series against the Nationals and now head to St. Louis to wrap up their inaugural road trip of the season. The Braves will be back home hosting the Padres at Truist Park this weekend. Before that, they must take care of one of the best teams in the National League at one of the most difficult places to win on the road.

Probable Starters

Charlie Morton vs. Jake Woodford

Dylan Dodd vs. Steven Matz

TBD vs. Miles Mikolas

If you like offense, this series should be a fun one. Charlie Morton will toe the rubber in Game 1 against Jake Woodford. I’m hopeful Morton will have a bounce back campaign in 2023. He’s still a guy that can rack up strikeouts in bunches and look dominant when he’s on. However, the long ball plagued him last year, and if that’s the case again this season, the Cardinals have the type of lineup that can take full advantage. It will be a nice test for Morton in his first start.

Jake Woodford had a really solid year for the Cardinals out of the bullpen last season, posting a 2.23 ERA over 48.1 innings. He’s cut from the same cloth as pitchers like Collin McHugh and Lucas Luetge. Woodford isn’t going to overpower anyone, featuring a sinker in the low-90s, but he throws a sweeper nearly 30% of the time — an offering opponents hit just .194 off last season.

In the second game of the series, rookie Dylan Dodd will make his MLB debut against Steven Matz. Hopefully, Dodd can do better than Jared Shuster on Sunday, who allowed the first six batters to reach base, resulting in four first inning runs. Shuster struggled with his control, but Dodd usually pitches to contact. That will be critical on Tuesday because if you walk batters against this Cardinals lineup, things will look a lot worse than they did with Shuster against the Nationals.

Matz is a left-handed pitcher that Braves fans should be familiar with from his days with the Mets. He’s nothing spectacular, but he has pitched well against Atlanta over his career, owning a 6-3 record with a 3.42 ERA in 15 starts.

With Max Fried expected to miss his start Wednesday with a hamstring injury, the Braves have yet to announce their starter. I’m expecting it to be Bryce Elder, and he’ll be up against Miles Mikolas. Mikolas has battled some injuries over his career and had some fantastic seasons. 2022 is a year he will remember fondly, as he recorded a 3.29 ERA over 202.1 innings on his way to his second All-Star game. However, Mikolas’ first start of this season is one he would like to forget. He surrendered five earned runs on ten hits over just 3.1 innings. Hopefully, the Braves can continue that trend on Wednesday.

Cardinals Player To Watch — Paul Goldschmidt

How could I choose anyone other than the reigning NL MVP? Goldschmidt has been one of the best first baseman in baseball for over a decade, but he put it all together last season, hitting .317 with 35 homers and 41 doubles — good for a .981 OPS. The guy has been an elite offensive presence since he entered the league, and he’s off to a pretty good start to 2023 as well, collecting six hits in just 12 at-bats. Goldschmidt is going to have an impact on this series, but the Braves must minimize the damage and keep runners off the bases in front of him if they want to come out on top.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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