After losing two out of three games to the Chicago Cubs and only scoring a total of four runs in the entire series, the Atlanta Braves needed a day off during their current road trip. But the next stop may not prove to be any kinder to the Braves, as they are headed to the home of the defending World Champion and National League Central leading St. Louis Cardinals.
The Braves have lost seven straight games in St. Louis, and are 3-11 against the Cardinals since 2010. The Cardinals enter the series on a hot streak, having won four straight games. The obstacle for the Braves will be getting the offense back on track against some tough pitching in this series.
The probable pitching matchups are:
Friday: Braves LHP Mike Minor (2-2, 5.97) vs. Cardinals LHP Jaime Garcia (2-2, 3.76) – Minor has been tagged for 15 runs and 18 hits in his last two starts. Garcia got hit hard in his last outing against the Houston Astros, but he has a career record of 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA against Atlanta.
Saturday: Braves RHP Brandon Beachy (3-1, 1.62) vs. Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (2-3, 5.61) – Beachy has won his last three starts, and hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his starts all season. Wainwright is coming back from surgery after missing all of 2011, but has pitched well recently, winning his last two starts.
Sunday: Braves RHP Tommy Hanson (3-3, 3.63) vs. Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (6-0, 1.40) – Hanson has been the Braves hard luck pitcher so far this season, with very little run support in his starts. He’s pitched well enough to be 5-1. Lynn – a former reliever – is your Cy Young frontrunner in the National League right now. He’s won every decision in his six starts, and his sub-two ERA is third in the league for starting pitching.
The Braves offense came to a screeching halt when they hit the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, and manager Fredi Gonzalez needs to find the elixir to get the bats thumping again. After scoring runs in bunches against the Colorado Rockies, they weren’t able to move runners across the plate against Chicago, leaving 45 men on base during the 3-game series.
Lance Berkman (Cardinals) is expected to be activated from the disabled list. This will give St. Louis another potential big bat off the bench, as Berkman isn’t expected to play every day yet. He’s been on the DL for 22 days.