Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MLB Preview: St. Louis Cardinals (61-78) at Atlanta Braves (90-48)


RECENT REDBIRDS: The St. Louis Cardinals are playing a nine-game, three-city road trip through Atlanta (Sept. 5-7), Cincinnati (Sept. 8-10), and Baltimore (Sept. 11-13). Tonight, the Cardinals conclude a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves, holders of the best record in Major League Baseball at 90-48. The Cardinals hit four home runs for the second straight game out-slugging the Braves 11-6 last night to take the series. The Cardinals have won three straight games, their longest streak since a season-high six straight wins July 15-20.

FLIGHT PATTERN: The Cardinals enter today in 5th place in the N.L. Central, 16.0 games out of first. St. Louis has spent 121 of 156 days in last place on the MLB schedule (April 26-May 19, May 29-July 7 & July 28-present). The Cardinals 61-78 record is their lowest at the 139-game mark since 1995 when they were also 60-79. St. Louis would need to go 20-3 (.870) over its remaining 23 games to avoid finishing under .500 for the first time since 2007 (78-84). Major League Baseball has the Cardinals elimination number from the N.L. Central at eight and postseason at 13.

SWEEP-STAKES: With a win tonight, the Cardinals would pull off their third sweep of the season and second on the road. The Cardinals swept the Miami Marlins July 17-19 at Busch Stadium and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park May 12-14. The last time the Cardinals swept the Braves was their first series at Truist Park, a three-game series, May 5-7, 2017.

STEPPING UP TO THE CHALLENGE: The Cardinals have won 17 series this season with eight coming against teams with winning records (at Boston, Milwaukee, Los Angeles-NL, New York-AL, Miami, at Arizona, at Tampa Bay and at Atlanta).

IT’S BOMBS AWAY IN ATLANTA G.A.!: A second straight night of bombs in the air came from the Cardinals bats as they homered four times in consecutive games for the first time since September 18-19, 2002 at Coors Field in Denver. The Cardinals have hit three or more home runs against the Braves 15 times since 2000 and are 14-1 in those games including 11-0 in Atlanta.

AIR RAID: In two games this series, the Cardinals and Braves have combined for 14 home runs, which isn’t even the most in MLB the past two days as the Astros and Rangers have combined for 15. The last time the Cardinals and their opponent hit 14 or more home runs over two games was June 17-18, 2017, with the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards as the Cardinals hit 3 and then 4 while the Orioles hit 5 and 4 for 15 total. Elias Sports Bureau

CONSISTENCY IS KEY: The Cardinals hit safely in every inning of last night’s game marking the second time this season, as they hit safely in all eight innings of a home win against the Washington Nationals on July 15. The last time the Cardinals hit safely in all nine innings was Aug. 10, 2022 at Colorado. Elias Sports Bureau

BIRDIE BOOMERS: Two of the top three clubs in runs coming via the longball are facing off this week as the Cardinals, ranked 3rd, have scored 49.1% of their runs via the longball (312/636). By comparison, the Atlanta Braves lead the Major Leagues with 53.2% of their runs via the longball (426 runs via HR/801 runs total). The New York Yankees 49.6% (293 runs via HR/591 total runs) is sandwiched between the top three clubs.

BEAT THE STREAK: The Cardinals have hit a home run in eight straight games, matching their season-high through the All-Star Break (July 5-16). This is their longest home run streak since homering in 12 straight games Aug. 23-Sept. 4, 2022. St. Louis is tied with the Miami Marlins for the most home runs hit among National League teams in September with 13.

IT’S A STEAL!: The Cardinals stole a season-high five bases last night, their most since swiping six against the Mets on June 15, 2019. Richie Palacios and Alec Burleson recorded their first steals of the season as 16 different Cardinals have stolen a base this season, most since 2019 when 19 different Cardinals recorded a theft. The club record is 21 different players in 1906.

HEIR JORDAN: Since August 28, Atlanta, Ga., native and Cardinals rookie Jordan Walker is batting a Major League-best .533 (16-30) and also ranks second in the circuit with a .545 on-base percentage and 1.033 slugging. The 21-year-old Walker has 15 home runs this season before turning age 22, which passed Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby (14 HR from 1915-18) last night. Curt Flood is next on the list with 17. Albert Pujols holds the franchise record with 37 blasts during his 2001 National League Rookie of the Year campaign.


  • Makes his 19th start of the season & 476th career appearance (409th career start). Is seeking an end to his career-high nine-game losing skid (June 24-present) and career high 10-start span without a earning a win. Recently turned age 42 on August 30. Currently is the 11th-oldest pitcher in Cardinals history, and tonight becomes the 6th different 42-year-old Cardinals starting pitcher and first since John Smoltz (age 42-138) in 2009. Is one of three active players age 40+ with Rich Hill (43) and Miguel Cabrera (40). Has made 56 starts since turning age 40. Has received four total runs of support in his last six starts. Received 26 runs of support in his initial six starts and just 17 runs in last 14 starts since. Wainwright is one of 13 pitchers (two Cardinals) in MLB history to make 400 or more career starts exclusively with one organization. Clayton Kershaw (418) joins Wainwright as the two active. Bob Gibson ranks 6th, while Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators leads at 666. Is two wins shy of 200 for his career. Has pitched 2,650.2 innings in his career, 8.0 innings from tying Bob Forsch (2,658.2) for 3rd all-time in Cardinals history. Celebrated 18.000 years/days of Major League service on August 21, the same day Joey Votto hit the 16.000 MLS milestone. Miguel Cabrera (20.074) and Zack Grenike (19.030) are only other active players to have hit that mark. Has pitched 5.0+ innings in 12 of 18 starts, with three quality starts. Has missed a total of 48 games this season. Missed the first 33 games of the season (March 30-May 5) due to a groin injury suffered while working out during the WBC Finals and another 15 games (July 5-23) due to a right shoulder strain.


  • Suffered his career-worst 9th consecutive defeat, yielding one run over 6.0 innings in a 4-1 loss to the Padres in last Monday’s homestand opener. Allowed a Matt Carpenter RBI single in the 6th inning for his only run allowed.

8/28 SD L 4-1 L-10 6.0 8 1 1 3 1 0 93-56

BUSCH STADIUM III (2006-present)

  • Has made 213 career starts at Busch Stadium III, 17th-most at a single stadium in MLB history. Clayton Kershaw (214 at Dodger Stadium) ranks 16th, while Tim Wakefield (216 at Fenway Park) ranks 15th. Has 1,201 regular season strikeouts at Busch Stadium III, tied with Dazzy Vance (1,201 at Ebbets Field) for 12th-most all-time at a single stadium. Chuck Finley (1,236 at Angel Stadium) ranks 11th. Has thrown 1,430.1 innings at Busch, tying Tommy Bridges (1,430.1 at Tiger Stadium) for 34th all-time at a single stadium. Roger Clemens (1,443.2 at Fenway Park) is 33rd. Earned 107 career regular season wins at Busch Stadium III, tied with Wilbur Cooper (107 at Forbes Field) for 22nd-most wins at a single stadium. Needs one Home win to pass Jesse Haines (107) for 2nd all-time among Cardinals. Is one of 22 pitchers in MLB history to hold a stadium’s record for both appearances (244) and starts (213). Joins Bob Forsch (233 app/207 GS at Busch II) as Cardinals on that list.


Runs Allowed
Atlanta lost to St. Louis, 11-6, last night, and has allowed at least 10 runs in each of the first two games of this series. Per Elias. the Braves are the fourth team in the last 90 seasons to allow double-digit runs in back-to-back games while being at least 40 games over .500, joining the 2018 Red Sox, 1955 Dodgers and 1939 Yankees. All three of the previous teams to do so went on to win the World Series. Atlanta last allowed double-digit runs in consecutive games in 2021, doing so versus Boston on June 15 (10) and June 16 (10). The Braves have not done so in three straight games since 2008.

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Cardinals tonight conclude a three-game set with the sixth and final scheduled meeting 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, but have lost the first two games of this series…Atlanta needs a win this week to secure the season set…The Braves went 4-3 against St. Louis last year, winning three-of-four games 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 9-10 (.4) here at Truist Park against St. Louis since the stadium opened in 2017, but had won three straight series versus the Cardinals here…The Braves entered this series having won eight of their last 11 games with the Cardinals here. Overall, Atlanta has won 14 of their last 20 games and 17 of 24 vs. St. Louis…Over that 24-game stretch that dates to May 15, 2019, Atlanta has compiled a 3.01 ERA (71 ER/212.1 IP) against the Cardinals…In 11 of the 24 games, the Braves have allowed no more than one earned run. LH Max Fried has never lost to St. Louis, going a perfect 4-0 with a 0.34 ERA in five career games, four starts…The 6-foot-4, 190-pound left-hander has allowed just one career run in 26.2 innings versus the Cardinals, fanning 29…He last faced them last season, throwing 6.0 scoreless innings to earn the win on July 6 here at Truist Park. RH Adam Wainwright in set to make the 17th start and 22nd appearance of his career against Atlanta, and is 10-4 with a 3.42 ERA (41 ER/108.0 IP) over his first 21 games…The 6-foot-7, 230-pound native of Brunswick, GA, was originally drafted by Atlanta in the first round of the 2000 draft, and traded to St. Louis in December of 2003.

LOSS: The Braves lost to the Cardinals, 11-6, last night to drop their third straight game…The skid is Atlanta’s first of at least three games since dropping three from August 5 to August 7 in Chicago and Pittsburgh. Atlanta responded to its last three-game losing streak by winning twenty of its next 25 games. The Braves allowed double-digit runs for the eighth time this season and fell to 1-7 in these games…Atlanta’s only victory came in a 13-10 win over the Mets on June 8. Braves pitchers have surrendered four home runs in each of the first two games of this series, the second time Atlanta has done so this season ( June 23-24 at Cincinnati)…The Braves are the only team to have multiple such streaks this season… Prior to this spell, Atlanta had not surrendered four home runs in consecutive games in Atlanta since June 3-4, 2006 vs. Arizona at Turner Field.

MAX FRIED: Enters tonight’s start undefeated since returning from the injured list on August 4, going a perfect 4-0 with a 2.86 ERA (11 ER/34.2 IP) in six total turns. His four wins since his return are tied for most by a starter in the National League…Cincinnati’s Alexis Diaz has five wins in relief in that span…He is one of just five pitchers in the majors with four wins and no losses since that date. Fried fanned 10 over 7.0 scoreless innings in his last start, September 1 at Dodger Stadium, his first double-digit strikeout game of the season…The first such game of his career came versus St. Louis, when he fanned 11 Cardinals over 6.2 scoreless innings on June 30, 2018 at Busch Stadium. Since his first full season in 2019, Fried’s 58 wins are the most by a left-hander in baseball and trail just Gerrit Cole’s 69 victories for most by any pitcher.

FIRST INNING: With their next first-inning run, the Braves will match the single-season franchise mark for runs in the inning…The 1999 club scored 127 runs in the first…Atlanta’s 126 runs in the first inning are most in the majors, 22 more than any other club. Atlanta’s 37 homers in the first inning are a single-season franchise record, and trail just the Dodgers (38) for most in baseball this year. Atlanta’s 126 runs and 186 hits in the first are the most by any team in any inning this season… Texas ranks second in both, scoring 116 runs and collecting 172 hits in the fourth. Atlanta is on pace for 148 runs in the first inning this season…The modern-era record for such runs is 160 set by the Red Sox in 1950, while the N.L. record is 147 by the Cardinals in 2000.

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #54 Max Fried LHP
2023 Record: 6-1, 2.52 ERA • 2022 Record: 14-7, 2.48 ERA
vs. RHB: .258 (50-194), 4 HR • vs. LHB: .206 (7-34), 1 HR
Home: 1-1, 3.70 ERA (10/24.1) • Away: 5-0, 1.73 ERA (6/36.1)

Today’s Game

  • Set to make his first start against St. Louis this season and 12th on the year.
  • Scattered three hits over 7.0 scoreless innings while fanning 10 in his last start against LA.
  • Fried went 1-0 with a 1.38 in two starts on the last road trip.
  • A California native, Fried is 7-1 with a 1.67 ERA in nine starts when pitching in his home state.
  • Is 4-0 with a 2.52 ERA in six starts since being reinstated from the IL on 8/4.
  • His 2.52 ERA is the third lowest in the majors among pitchers with at least 10 starts.
  • His 2.80 FIP is the third lowest in the National League (min. 10 starts).
  • Fried owns a 0.34 ERA in five appearances against St. Louis; the lowest against any single opponent he has faced more than once.
  • Was reinstated from the 60-day injured list on August 4 and made a start against Chicago (NL) after missing 70 games, 90 days between appearances.
  • Landed on the 60-day IL on May 9 (retro May 6) with a strained left forearm.
  • Fried went 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA with 13 strikeouts in four rehabilitation appearances.
  • Made three starts with Triple-A Gwinnett and one with High-A Rome.
  • Fried picked off New York’s Harrison Bader on August 14, his second successful pick-off of the season.
  • Fried’s 25 successful pickoffs since debuting in 2017 are the most in baseball and five more than the next closest pitcher, Washington’s Patrick Corbin.
  • Corbin has attempted 434 pickoffs in that time, compared to Fried’s 172.
  • Fried has successfully nabbed a runner on 14.5 percent of his career pickoff attempts, drastically higher than the MLB average since his debut (1.7 percent)…Since 2017, 1.6 percent of MLB’s successful pick attempts have been executed by Fried.
  • His 58 wins since the beginning of the 2019 season are the most in the National League, and tied most by any left-hander in baseball.
  • Only one pitcher, the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, has more wins than Fried since the start of 2019…Cole has 68 wins.
  • Additionally, the Braves have 78 wins in games started by Fried since the beginning of 2019, the most such wins by a pitcher in the National League… Only Cole and José Berríos have more, whose teams have won 90 and 80 of their starts, have more in the majors.
  • Teammate Charlie Morton’s teams also have 77 wins during that span. 2023 Recap
  • Became just the fifth pitcher since 1901 to only allow one run through March and April with at least four games started.
  • Joined Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, Fernando Valenzuela and Minnesota’s Pablo López as the only other pitchers to do so (since 1901).
  • Fried was placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained left hamstring on March 30 and activated from the IL on April 17.
  • Made his third career Opening Day start after he also started the opener in each of the last two seasons.
  • Fried was the first Braves lefty to make consecutive Opening Day starts since Hall-of-Famer Warren Spahn started six straight, 1957-1962.
  • Prior to Fried, the last Braves lefty to start Opening Day was Tom Glavine in 2002.
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