The Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals close out their three-game set at Busch Stadium on Thursday.
Atlanta took the first two games of the series, including a 7-4 victory on Wednesday night. They will be looking to sweep the series here and try to climb the NL East ladder. Meanwhile, the Cardinals fell to one game below the .500 mark after losing Game 2.
This will mark the last meeting between these two teams this season and the Braves currently have a 5-1 series lead over the Cardinals.
The Atlanta Braves have struggled to go over the .500 mark in recent weeks. But they now have another chance to get past that mark on Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals whom they beat in the first two games of this series. Trade deadline acquisitions Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler went deep on Wednesday to push the Braves to 54-54 on the season, 2.5 games behind the NL East leaders New York Mets.
Despite dealing with injuries, Atlanta has managed to have a decent offense, averaging 4.79 runs per game this season. They have also slugged 150 home runs this season which is second-best in the National League. Pitching has been an issue for the Braves who have a 4.09 ERA from their starters and 4.30 from a bullpen that has struggled to close out games.
Touki Touissant will take the mound for Atlanta on Thursday. The highly-touted prospect has started three games this season and has posted a 1-2 record with an ERA of 4.76 and a WHIP of 1.06 Touissant allowed seven runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work in his last outing as the Braves lost 9-5 to the Brewers.
Odds from BetOnline as of 08/05/2021
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals have seen their promising season come off the rails in the last two months. The Cardinals head to this game with a mediocre 5-5 record in their last 10 games and have dropped the first two games of this series while getting outscored 13-5 by Atlanta. St. Louis is 53-54 on the season and in third place in the National League Central, 11 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers.
It has been a rough scoring season for the Cardinals who are scoring only an average of 3.99 runs per game with a 0.692 OPS. The St. Louis pitching has at least been closer to being decent with a combined ERA of 4.24 but their 4.34 BB/9 ratio is the worst in the majors right now and it isn’t even close.
Wade Leblanc will start on top of the mound for the Cardinals on Thursday. The 36-year old left-hander has started seven games this season and has posted an ERA of 4.17 and a WHIP of 1.54. In his last start, LeBlanc allowed just one run on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts as the Cardinals beat the Twins 5-1 last July 31.
Atlanta is 5-0 in their last five games as road favorites. The Braves are 7-1 in their last 8 games when the total is set between 9-10.5, 5-1 in their last six games against a left-handed starter, 4-1 in their last five Thursday games, 4-1 in their last five games played against the Cardinals, and 8-2 in their last 10 meetings in St. Louis.
St. Louis is 4-0 in their last four Game 3 of a series, 10-4 in their last 14 home games, and 8-3 in their last 11 games against an opponent with a losing record. However, the Cardinals are 6-14 in their last 20 games when the total is set between 9-10.5, 1-4 in their last five Thursday games, and 1-6 in their last seven games against a right-handed starter.
This has been a disappointing season for Atlanta but despite their failures, they are still better than this Cardinals team at every facet of the game. The Braves offense easily outclasses the Cardinals with the moves they made at the trade deadline.
On the mound, Toussaint’s last start didn’t go well but he allowed just two runs on eight hits and 2 walks, and 14 strikeouts across 13.2 innings in his first two outings of the season.
As a highly-touted prospect, Touissant has always had great stuff and he should have more than enough in his bag to beat this uninspiring Cardinals team that has struggled all season long. St. Louis has a wRC+ of 89 on the season and LeBlanc isn’t good enough on the mound to make up for it.
Atlanta has many issues this season but solid production from replacements to injured players plus the All-Star campaigns of Freeman and Albies have helped their campaign. St. Louis pitching has been poor this season and the Braves will hit enough balls to win this game.
Prediction: Atlanta Braves
The total has gone over in six out of the last eight Game 3 played by the Braves. The over is also 8-3 in their last 11 games against a left-hander, 8-3-1 in their last 12 games against the National League Central, 11-5-1 in their last 17 games as road favorites, and 9-4 in their last 13 games when the total is set between 9-10.5.
The total has gone under in seven out of the last eight Thursday games played by the Cardinals. The over is 14-4 in their last 18 games as home underdogs, 7-2 in their last nine games against the AL East, 4-0 in their last four home games against a left-handed starter, 17-8-1 in their last 26 Game 3 of a series, and 26-11-3 in their last 40 games when the total is set between 9-10.5.
Odds from BetOnline as of 08/05/2021
The Braves didn’t pick up big names at the trade deadline but their acquisition of Pederson and Duvall gives them a pair of major power threats. Atlanta’s offense certainly has enough weapons to handle LeBlanc and put up a big scoring game here.
The bullpen for the Braves has been problematic and they don’t have reliable pitchers in the late innings. With the Cardinals having capable hitters like Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt and neither pitcher expected to go deep, the score of this game should go over the total.
Prediction: Over 9