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Reply To: MLB Previews, Articles, Info, etc, Saturday 10/3/15

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Preview: Cardinals at Braves

Current Conditions – Atlanta
P/SUNNY 89 °F
Wind: WNW 10
5-Day Forecast GAME: St. Louis Cardinals (100-60) at Atlanta Braves (65-95)
DATE/TIME: Saturday, October 03 – 7:10 PM EST
WHERE: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

The St. Louis Cardinals have won 100 games and open the National League Division Series next week, a tremendous accomplishment given the number of injuries the NL Central champions have endured in 2015. The Cardinals play the middle contest of a three-game set Saturday at the Atlanta Braves, and manager Mike Matheny is using the final series of the regular season to give his starters a break.

“It’s nice to take advantage of an opportunity to get a little more rest, but we’ll also get work and try to stay sharp,” Matheny told reporters before Friday’s 4-0 defeat, in which most St. Louis regulars did not play. The Cardinals face a familiar face Saturday in Shelby Miller, who was traded to Atlanta in the Jason Heyward deal last offseason. Miller takes one last shot at getting his first victory since May 17 in his season finale, carrying a 24-start winless streak into the matchup. Atlanta has won eight of its past 13 games and needs one victory in the final two games to finish above .500 at home.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN South (Atlanta)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH John Lackey (13-9, 2.69 ERA) vs. Braves RH Shelby Miller (5-17, 3.15)

While Matheny has not announced his playoff rotation, Lackey figures to be a strong candidate to start Game 1 of the NLDS. The 13-year veteran, who has 117 innings of postseason experience across 21 games, posted a 1.78 ERA in five September starts and ranks sixth in the NL in ERA. Lackey has won four of his past six decisions, pitching seven innings or more six times in his past seven outings.

The Braves have averaged an anemic 1.6 runs while Miller has been in the game this season, a huge reason why Atlanta’s lone All-Star representative leads the majors in losses. But Miller has not pitched well down the stretch, going 0-5 in September with a 7.11 ERA while allowing five runs or more three times in five starts. Miller’s lone meeting with his former team July 25 illustrates many of his outings during the winless streak – one run allowed on two hits in 7 1/3 innings in a 1-0 loss.

WALK-OFFS

1. Atlanta 2B Daniel Castro hit the Braves’ 97th homer of the season Friday; the last time the Braves failed to hit 100 homers in a season was 1988, a year when Atlanta lost 106 games.

2. St. Louis P Adam Wainwright, making his second relief appearance Friday after missing four months with an Achilles injury, threw 12 of his 15 pitches for strikes in a scoreless sixth inning.

3. Braves P Paco Rodriguez, acquired in the 13-player trade with the Dodgers at the trade deadline, underwent Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss all of 2016.

PREDICTION: Braves 3, Cardinals 2