MLB’s July 4 schedule is highlighted by a showdown between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves. At home, the Braves are favored with a moneyline of -170, while the Cardinals have a moneyline of +145. The over/under of the game is set at nine runs.
The Braves were one of the best teams in June and are hoping to keep it going in early July. Despite dropping Sunday’s series finale against the Reds, Atlanta has still won seven of the team’s last 11 games. That leaves the Braves 12 games over .500 and 3.5 games behind the Mets in the NL East.
Likewise, the Cardinals are also trailing in their division, two games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. Unfortunately, they’ve cooled down recently, including three losses in their last four games, all against NL East opponents. The Cards are also 7-10 over their last 17 games and have a losing record this season against teams with a winning record.
Banks of the Hudson
Dakota Hudson will make the start for the Cardinals on Monday. Through his first 15 starts of the season, Hudson is 6-4 with a 3.83 ERA, although he has just 44 strikeouts in 80 innings of work. He’s also seen his ERA climb over his last four starts while the Cardinals have gone 4-4 over Hudson’s last eight starts.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis lineup will try to bounce back after getting shut out on Sunday, just one day after hitting four consecutive home runs. The good news is that the Cardinals have MVP frontrunner Paul Goldschmidt anchoring their lineup. In addition to Goldschmidt, the likes of Nolan Arenado, Juan Yepez, Dylan Carlson, and Nolan Gorman have also been red-hot over the past week, at least outside of Sunday’s loss.
The Wright Choice
The Braves will counter Hudson with Kyle Wright, who will also be making his 16th start of the season. Over his first 15 starts, Wright is 9-4 with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. However, Wright has given up at least ten hits in two of his last three starts, although the Braves won five of the six starts he made in June.
In addition to Wright being on the mound, the Braves can rely on their potent lineup, which has averaged 4.9 runs per game over Atlanta’s last 12 games. While Ozzie Albies is on the IL, Atlanta’s other infielders have stepped up, with Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, and Matt Olson all being red-hot over the last two weeks. Plus, the entire Atlanta lineup has combined for 12 homers over the last six games, giving the Braves plenty of firepower.
Only the Brave
St. Louis surely provides a challenge for the Braves, who have taken advantage of facing a weak schedule over the past month. But Wright on the mound gives Atlanta a huge advantage, whereas Hudson has been largely unreliable. Even if Atlanta doesn’t have a ton of value with a -170 moneyline, the Braves are still a safe bet to get the win on Monday.
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