The Atlanta Braves are set to open a three game series against the Central Division leading St. Louis Cardinals tonight. They are coming off a series loss to the Chicago Cubs, which they only scored four runs in three games. They ran into a Cubs team that was playing well after a slow start to the year. The pitchers they lost to were pitching well coming into the series. Now they move on to a team that is also playing well now, the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are winners of four straight games. They come into the game with a swagger that dates back to last year. They were the team that got hot in September and overcame the Braves’ seemingly insurmountable lead in the NL Wild Card. They clinched on the final day of the season when they won and the Braves lost their final game.
Their swagger also comes from their success against the Braves as well. They have a 11-3 record against the Braves since 2010. Last season, they went 5-1 against the Braves last year. They have not lost a game to the Braves in St. Louis since September 13, 2009.
The Cardinals come into the game 2nd in the NL in runs scored, trailing the Braves. They also come into the game with the NL’s 2nd best rotation ERA at 2.82.
Needless to say, the Braves are hoping to send a message to the Cardinals and around the NL that they are here to stay. Moreover, they are hoping to exorcise the demons of the success that the Cardinals have had over them the past few years. The Braves have a tall order, but they have a team that matches up well against the Cardinals. A series win would help give them confidence against the Cardinals. It would also send a message to the Cardinals that they do not own the Braves. Regardless, the Braves need a good showing against one of the best teams in the NL.