As the baseball regular season heats up, some crucial match-ups take place that we should prepare ourselves for ahead of time to place our best bets.
Top sportsbooks will likely draw a lot of action for the upcoming series between Atlanta and St. Louis, as both teams are looking like strong playoff candidates.
How Are The Teams Doing?
While Atlanta doesn’t lead the NL East, it is also much more difficult to compete in this division than in other divisions.
Currently, the Braves are 77-48, and they sit two games behind the Mets for first place in the NL East.
Meanwhile, St. Louis leads the NL Central but is only 71-52. The Cardinals lead Milwaukee by 5.5 games.
In this phase of the season, both teams have been winning a lot more than they’ve been losing, but somebody will have to lose this series.
Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Friday, August 26, 2022 – 08:15 PM EDT at Busch Stadium
Saturday, August 27, 2022 – 07:15 PM EDT at Busch Stadium
Sunday, August 28, 2022- 07:00 PM EDT at Busch Stadium
Game 1: Spencer Strider vs. Jose Quintana
After doing nothing positively before this season, Braves starter Spencer Strider has been fantastic, as evident in his 2.06 FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding).
Strider’s most recent play attests to the quality that he has displayed throughout the season. Despite pitching against difficult Met and Astro lineups, he allowed one earned run in both of his last starts.
Even though he’s been great, he is actually yielding negative units right now. He has been unprofitable for bettors to back largely because Atlanta suffered awful upset losses in his starts.
For example, the Braves were favored at -290 to beat Washington on July 17 but lost.
Strider is so difficult to hit because of his individual pitch quality. He throws a fastball, slider, and changeup.
Opponents slug .312 against his fastball, which is his most frequent pitch, and below .200 against his other favorite pitchers.
Jose Quintana’s Resurgence
Jose Quintana is a recent acquisition for the Cardinals.
Quintana has fallen into disrepute in recent seasons, but people forget that he was pretty effective earlier last decade.
This season has seen a resurgence from Quintana in that, as his numbers show, he is performing about as well as he has ever.
This weekend, Quintana dodges a bullet because the Brave batters who hit him really hard –Ozzie Albies and Adam Duvall– are injured.
Game 2: Jordan Montgomery vs. Charlie Morton
Whereas Atlanta has a considerable pitching edge in Game 1 and so will likely be favored by the MLB Odds, St. Louis is better equipped to take Game 2.
Jordan Montgomery, another recent acquisition for the Cardinal rotation, has been superb. Since joining St. Louis, he has allowed a combined total of one run in his last four starts.
During this four-game span, he is 4-0. Though not a strikeout guy, he has been striking out more batters while avoiding walks and home runs.
While Atlanta may seem prepared to end Montgomery’s streak of strong starts because the Braves rank third in slugging against lefties, Montgomery’s ongoing streak includes a win over a Rockies squad that ranks fourth in slugging against lefties.
While Montgomery in this phase of the season and Quintana this year are resurgent, Atlanta starter Charlie Morton has regressed this year.
But Morton’s overall statistic regression belies his current form. He has yielded a sub-0.50 FIP in both of his last starts, which came against the Mets and Astros.
Morton is striking out a lot of batters while reducing the walk rate to the level it was in his previous, better seasons.
While Montgomery has been performing better than Morton for a longer period of time, the latter will keep his team competitive. St. Louis is a righty-heavy lineup, so facing Morton will be particularly difficult because he yields a 2.98 FIP against right-handed batters this year.
Game 3: Jake Odorizzi vs. Adam Wainwright
In Game 3, it will be Atlanta’s turn to start a recent acquisition.
Odorizzi is experiencing a disturbing trend right now. He has allowed a home run in each of his last three starts, and he’s allowed a combined total of five homers during this span.
This tendency to give up home runs is problematic against a Cardinal lineup that has a lot of power.
St. Louis already ranks eighth in home runs per game.
Cardinal staple Adam Wainwright closes out the series. As a Cardinal, Wainwright has accumulated a large history against Brave batters.
Only a few of them can claim to hit him well. Crucially, the two Brave players with the best track records against Wainwright –Hernan Perez and Orlando Arcia– are not available.
Arcia has been injured since August 9 with a left hamstring strain, and Perez is in the minors.