It’s the continuation of the National League Division Series as the series rages on in the Gateway City. The Atlanta Braves are on the road as they make the trip to face the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of their best of five set Monday afternoon. In Atlanta, the teams split the first two games of the series: St. Louis rallied for a 7-6 victory in Game 1 Thursday afternoon before Atlanta answered with a 3-0 triumph in Game 2 to earn a split before heading out on the road. Game 3 saw Atlanta rally in the ninth inning to stun the Cardinals 3-1 Sunday afternoon to take a 2-1 series lead. Can the Braves close things out and reach the NLCS for the first time since 2001 or will the Cardinals force a winner take all Game 5?
Atlanta Braves Riding MomentumAtlanta, after their late meltdown in Game 1, has received terrific pitching in the last two games of the series. The Braves have allowed only one run in their last 18 innings and that has pushed them into a 2-1 series lead. On Sunday, Atlanta got three hits from Dansby Swanson (run, RBI) and two from Ozzie Albies. Swanson tied the game with a RBI double in the ninth while Adam Duvall drove in the winning runs with a two-run single one batter later. The rally kept Mike Soroka from suffering a tough loss: instead, he received a no-decision after throwing seven innings. He allowed one run on two hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Sean Newcomb (1-0) got the final out of the eighth for the win while Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his second save.
The Braves haven’t officially named a starter for this contest but the thought process is that they’ll turn to Dallas Keuchel for his second postseason start after making 19 regular season starts. He finished the regular season 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA, a 1.367 WHIP, 39 walks and 91 strikeouts over 112.2 innings of work this season. Keuchel didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came Thursday at home in Game 1 of this series against the Cardinals. He threw 4.2 innings, allowing one run on five hits with three walks and no strikeouts in an eventual 7-6 Braves loss. Keuchel is 0-2 with a 4.02 ERA, a 1.72 WHIP, nine walks and eight strikeouts over 15.2 innings in his last three starts. He is 0-2 with a 7.72 ERA, a 1.47 WHIP, five walks and 15 strikeouts over 16.1 innings in four career appearances, three starts, against the Cardinals. He lost his lone career start at Busch Stadium, which came as a rookie with the Astros back on August 23, 2012. In that outing, Keuchel threw four innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in a 13-5 Astros defeat.
St. Louis Cardinals Hoping to Force Game 5St. Louis was one out away from defending their home field and taking a 2-1 series advantage only to see it slip away. The Cardinals have precious little time to regroup as they need a win here to extend their season or it’s all over. St. Louis had only four hits in the game Sunday with Marcell Ozuna (run) recording two of them. The lone Cardinals run scored in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Matt Carpenter. Adam Wainwright turned in a stellar outing but wound up with a no-decision: he threw 7.2 innings, allowing no runs on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Carlos Martinez (1-1) blew the save and took the loss as he allowed three runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in one inning of work.
Dakota Hudson takes the ball for the Cardinals for his first postseason start after 33 regular season appearances, 32 starts, this season. He finished the regular season 16-7 with one save, a 3.35 ERA, a 1.408 WHIP, 86 walks and 136 strikeouts over 174.2 innings of work this season. Hudson didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came September 27 at home against the Cubs. He threw five scoreless innings, allowing two hits with five walks and 10 strikeouts in an 8-2 St. Louis defeat. Hudson is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA, a 1.40 WHIP, 11 walks and 13 strikeouts over 15 innings in his last three starts. He has no record with a 3.38 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, two walks and three strikeouts over six innings in two career appearances, one start, against the Braves. Hudson is 11-2 with a 2.40 ERA, a 1.225 WHIP, 51 walks and 79 strikeouts over 112.2 innings in 31 career appearances, 17 starts, at Busch Stadium.
- Cardinals are 1-4 in their last 5 playoff games
- Cardinals are 1-4 in their last 5 Divisional Playoff games
- Braves are 5-0 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600