Monday, September 25, 2023

MLB Preview: St. Louis Cardinals (59-78) at Atlanta Braves (90-46)


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Atlanta returns to Truist Park tonight to open a six-game homestand, and enters play with the best home record in baseball. The Braves are 44-22 (.667) here at home this season. Atlanta went 14-14 through its first 28 home games this season through May 27. Since the following date, May 28, the Braves are 30-8 (.789) here at Truist Park. Since Truist Park opened in 2017, Atlanta’s 290-210 (.580) record at home is the fifth best in baseball and second best in the National League (Dodgers, 344-163, .679.)

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Cardinals tonight open a three-game set with the fourth of six scheduled meetings between the two teams this season…The teams first met during Atlanta’s first road trip of the season, April 3-5, at Busch Stadium. The Braves swept the Cardinals in three games in St. Louis, and need a win this week to secure the season set…Atlanta went 4-3 against St. Louis last season, winning three-of-four games here at Truist Park and dropping two-of-three at Busch Stadium. Atlanta has won four consecutive season series against the Cardinals dating to 2018…The Braves went 4-3 last season, 6-1 against the Cardinals in 2021, 4-2 in 2019 and 4-2 in 2018. Atlanta is 9-8 (.529) here at Truist Park against St. Louis since the stadium opened in 2017, including three straight series wins…The Braves have won eight of the last 10 between the teams here. Overall, Atlanta has won 14 of their last 18 games and 17 of 22 vs. St. Louis…Over that 22-game stretch that dates to May 15, 2019, Atlanta has compiled a 2.36 ERA (51 ER/194.1 IP) against the Cardinals. RH Michael Soroka has never lost to St. Louis,
going 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two career starts against them and allowing just one earned run in 13.0 total innings…Both of his previous two starts came in 2019…The 6-foot-5, 225-pound righthander also made his only career postseason start verus St. Louis, and pitched 7.0 one-run innings to earn the win in Game 3 of the 2019 NLDS. RH Miles Mikolas has pitched in six games and made five starts against Atlanta in his career, going 1-4 with a 3.86 ERA (14 ER/32.2 IP)…The
6-foot-4, 230-pound native of Jupiter, FL, made one start against Atlanta earlier this season, April 5 at Busch Stadium, and allowed nine hits and five runs over 6.0 innings in the loss…In 29 total starts for the Cardinals this season, he is 6-10 with a 4.66 ERA (85 ER/164.1 IP).

LOSS: The Braves fell to the Dodgers, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon to snap their six-game winning streak and complete the road trip with an 8-2 record. The Braves were looking for their first four-game sweep in the history of Dodger Stadium. Atlanta’s only run came on a solo homer from Matt Olson, his N.L.-leading 44th of the season… The homer snapped Olson’s 18-game homerless drought that dated to August 14, his longest of the season and the longest single-season stretch of his career. RH Charlie Morton started for the Braves and took the loss, allowing six hits and two runs over 4.0 innings…In the four-game series, Atlanta starters Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Bryce Elder and Morton combined to allow just seven runs in 23.0 total innings, pitching to a 2.74 ERA.

NEVER LED: Atlanta lost to Los Angeles on Sunday and never held a lead in the game, the Braves’ first such loss since August 7 at Pittsburgh…Atlanta held a lead at some point in 25 straight games since that loss at PNC Park, going 20-5 (.800) in that stretch. The Braves are 90-28 (.763) when leading at any point in a game this season, the best such record in the National League…Only the Orioles, Rays and Red Sox have been better in baseball. Atlanta’s 118 games holding a lead this season are easily the most in baseball, eight more than any other club…The Dodgers are second with 110 such games. The Braves are 35-44 (.443) when trailing at any point this season, also the best such record in the N.L…Only the Orioles (43-48, .473) have been better.

SOROKA STARTS: RH Michael Soroka was recalled today from Triple-A Gwinnett and will start tonight versus St. Louis…In six games and five starts for the Braves this season, he is 2-1 with a 5.52 ERA. Soroka today was named the International League Pitcher of the Month for August. Soroka made five starts with the Stripers in the month of August, compiling a 1-1 record and a 2.77 ERA (8 ER/26.0 IP)…He allowed just 15 hits and eight walks in the month for a 0.88 WHIP, striking out 34…Opponents hit just .165 against him. In 17 total starts for Gwinnett this year, he is 4-4 with a 3.41 ERA (33 ER/87.0 IP). He has made just one start here at Truist Park this season, June 30 vs. Miami, and earned the win after allowing six hits and three runs over 6.0 innings… Atlanta is 4-1 in his five starts this year.

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #40 Michael Soroka RHP
2023 Record: 2-1, 5.52 ERA • 2023 MiLB Record: 1-2, 4.33 ERA
vs. RHB: .306 (15-for-49), 3 HR • vs. LHB: .254 (17-for-67), 4 HR
Home: 1-0, 5.00 ERA (5 ER/9.0) • Away: 1-1, 5.75 ERA (13/20.1)

Today’s Game

  • Set to make his sixth start of the season for Atlanta and third regular-season career appearance against St. Louis. Will be his first start for the Braves since July 25 at Milwaukee. Soroka was named the International League Pitcher of the Month for August. He led the league among qualifiers in lowest BAA (.165), and WHIP 0.88) while ranking third in strikeouts (34), going 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in five starts. Soroka is the first Gwinnett pitcher to win the award since LHP Kyle Muller
    in June, 2022. Soroka’s last appearance against St. Louis was in Atlanta’s 3-1 win in Game 3 of the 2019 NLDS. Held the Cardinals to two hits over 7.0 innings of one-run ball. Made his first career relief appearance on July 16 against Chicago (AL). Is 4-4 with a 3.41 ERA in 17 starts with Triple-A Gwinnett. Went 1-2 with 3.58 ERA in six starts since rejoining the Stripers after being optioned on July 23. Recalled to Atlanta for the third time this season on September 5. Optioned to the Stripers on July 23 Recalled to Atlanta for the second time this season on June 30. Was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on June 4 after his start in Arizona. Went 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts after rejoining the Stripers. Named International League Pitcher of the Week for June 19-25. Threw a 7.0-inning complete game on June 22 vs. Jacksonville. Was first recalled to Atlanta for the this season on May 29. His first outing against Oakland marked his first MLB appearance in 1,029
    days, dating to August 3, 2020. Missed a total of 486 games with a torn Achilles
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