A rainout on Saturday will force the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves to play a doubleheader on Sunday, with the nightcap being played for a national audience. At home, the Braves are currently listed as slight favorites for the second game with a moneyline of -115 compared to the Cardinals, who have a moneyline of -105. The game also has an over/under of seven runs.
The Cardinals are perhaps more in need of a win after losing the first two games of the series on Thursday and Friday. St. Louis endured a stretch of nine losses in 10 games earlier this month before sweeping the Marlins earlier in the week. But with back-to-back losses to the Braves, they enter Sunday with a .500 record, 3.5 games out in the NL Central.
Of course, the Braves haven’t had a good run recently either. Even with wins on Thursday and Friday, they are just 7-9 during the month of June. Atlanta will begin Sunday with three games under .500 and 5.5 games out of first place in the NL East, so the Braves are desperate to build on their two wins to begin the weekend.
Drew Smyly will get the start for Atlanta in the second game of the doubleheader. The lefty has made 11 starts this season, going 3-3 with a 5.63 ERA. However, after a terrible April, Smyly is starting to turn things around, allowing three runs or less in six of his last seven starts.
Smyly will also luck out by facing a St. Louis lineup that’s been beyond dreadful over the past week. Over their last seven games, the Cardinals have scored a total of 10 runs, getting shut out twice during that stretch. The team has just one home run in those games and isn’t getting much production from anyone other than Dylan Carlson.
Where’s the Pitching?
While the St. Louis lineup struggles to score runs, the team’s pitching has also been falling apart, which Kwang Hyun Kim will try to change on Sunday night. The Korean lefty is 1-4 with a 3.72 ERA over his first ten starts of the season, although he’s averaging fewer than five innings per start. However, Kim did look sharp in his last start, yielding just one run on three hits over six innings against Miami, albeit with five walks handed out.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta lineup has started to get its act together lately, especially after scoring nine runs on Friday. Over their last five games, the Braves are averaging seven runs per game, which is a small sample but a step in the right direction. It’s no coincidence that the Braves are scoring runs at the same time that both Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna are heating up, with the two combining to go 15 for 37 (.405) over the last five games.
Time to be Brave
For the most part, the Braves haven’t been a good bet this season with Smyly on the mound. But given how terrible the St. Louis lineup has been lately and Atlanta’s recent hot streak offensively, an exception can be made. Bet on the Braves to win the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader.
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