The St. Louis Cardinals look to continue their strong play against National League East opponents when they host the Atlanta Braves on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series. The Cardinals improved to 22-9 against teams from the NL East with Saturday’s 6-5 victory, pulling into a virtual tie with the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central lead and extending their season-long winning streak to eight games.
Rookie Paul DeJong launched his 17th homer in his 64th career game Saturday and has reached base in 18 of his past 21 games, finishing 2-for-3 as the Cardinals improved to 9-3 in August. The Braves are free falling, losing for the 18th time in 24 games since reaching .500 on July 16 and dropping a season-worst 12 games under .500 with Saturday’s loss. Atlanta’s rookie second baseman Ozzie Albies brings a four-game hitting streak into the series finale. The Braves are 0-5 against the Cardinals this year and have been outscored 35-17 so far in the season series.
TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH R.A. Dickey (7-7, 4.03 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Michael Wacha (9-4, 3.70)
Dickey continues to provide the Braves rotation with stability, allowing three runs on three hits (two homers) in a victory Aug. 4 over Miami. The 42-year-old, who was given extra time between his last start and Sunday due to off days in Atlanta’s schedule, has posted a 2.22 ERA in his past nine starts while limiting opponents to a .224 batting average. Dickey faced the Cardinals on May 7 in Atlanta, getting a no-decision after allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings.
Wacha has lost just once in his past 12 starts, improving to 7-1 in that span by holding Kansas City to three runs on six hits over six innings Tuesday. That outing marks just the second time in his past eight starts he has surrendered more than two runs, posting an ERA of 2.22 over those starts with 52 strikeouts and 11 walks. Wacha pitched six innings against the Braves on May 7, giving up two runs on five hits with six strikeouts in a no-decision.
1. Cardinals INF Jedd Gyorko was scratched from Saturday’s lineup with right knee irritation.
2. Atlanta LF Matt Adams is hitting .197 in his past 21 games with one homer and 15 strikeouts in 61 at-bats.
3. Braves 3B Brandon Phillips homered Saturday, and is hitting .303 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 24 games since the All-Star break.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 3, Braves 1