|4:15 PM PT5:15 PM MT6:15 PM CT7:15 PM ET19:15 ET23:15 GMT7:15 4:15 PM MST6:15 PM EST6:45 PM VEN3:15 UAE (+1)6:15 PM CT, May 25, 2019
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri Attendance: 45,760
Cardinals gear up for Braves rookie phenom Soroka
Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals
- Atlanta has won four straight and six of its last eight in St. Louis dating back to 2016, including a three-game sweep from June 29 to July 1 last season. The Braves took two of the three games against the Cardinals in Atlanta from May 14-16 this season.
- The Braves took three of four in San Francisco this week and have gone 10-3 since May 10 after losing their previous four. They're slugging .452 in that span, second best in the National League -- only the Rockies (.468) are better.
- The Cardinals split a doubleheader with the Royals on Wednesday and are an NL-worst 6-14 (.300) this month after going 18-7 (.720) in April, including wins in 10 of their final 12 games of the month. That .420 win percentage decrease is the largest in MLB by a large margin; the Mariners rank second at -.250.
- Austin Riley had three hits and three RBI in Thursday's win over the Giants, giving him 14 hits, five home runs, and 12 RBI in his first nine career games. With a hit in his next game, he would join Pete Alonso this season as the only players in the live-ball era (since 1920) with 15+ hits and 5+ home runs in their first 10 career games.
- Dexter Fowler recorded a three-hit night in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Royals, going 3-for-4 with two runs, including a solo home run. He's hitting .283 in 42 games this season after batting .180 last season, though he is batting just .234 in 16 games this month.
- Miles Mikolas has a 0.79 WHIP in his five home starts this season compared to a 1.79 WHIP in his five road starts, the largest difference among qualified pitchers. Among NL pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched at home, only Chris Paddack (0.60), Hyun-Jin Ryu (0.65), and Zack Greinke (0.78) have lower WHIPs.
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Here's the sort of rookie season Atlanta Braves right-hander Mike Soroka is having: He allowed one run in eight innings against the San Francisco Giants last week, and his ERA went up.
The first-round draft pick from 2015 will look to continue his dominant ways on Saturday when the Braves play the second game of a three-game series at St. Louis.
He will be opposed by the Cardinals rookie right-hander Dakota Hudson (3-3, 4.40 ERA).
The Braves won the series opener 5-2 on Friday night when Dansby Swanson hit a pair of home runs in support of Mike Foltynewicz, who earned his first win of the season.
Soroka, 21, is coming off an impressive start in a 4-1 win at San Francisco. He retired the first 15 batters he faced and limited the Giants to two hits. The only negative was the end of his 61-inning streak without allowing a home run. That run caused his ERA to rise to 1.01.
"You're always expecting to win when he's out there," Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said.
Soroka said, "Mentally, I was in one of the best places I've ever been. We just attacked from pitch one and we didn't take our foot off the gas."
Soroka, who has a history of shoulder problems, is being monitored closely by the team. Manager Brian Snitker did not consider letting the rookie try to finish the game, even though he had only thrown 94 pitches.
"I'm not going to push him," Snitker said. "I'm going to be like that. It's for the future."
Soroka beat the Cardinals on May 15 when he threw seven shutout innings. He has not allowed more than two runs in any of his seven starts this season.
Hudson beat the Texas Rangers in his last start on May 18. He pitched six innings and allowed two runs in earning his first win since April 27. The 24-year-old was able to meet the challenge of dealing with a lineup stacked with lefty hitters thanks to some advice from pitching coach Mike Maddux.
"It's just about how I approach it and my execution," Hudson said. "I had a good meeting with Maddux, and it was not about what the lefties are doing but what I'm doing with the lefties. I think execution was a big part of that, and he gave me confidence going into the start. I feel like I'm getting better out there."
He is likely to see three lefties (Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Brian McCann) and two switch hitters (Ozzie Albies, Johan Camargo) when the Braves post their lineup. Hudson did not face the Braves when the teams met two weeks ago in Atlanta.
He has made one career appearance against Atlanta, tossing 1 2/3 innings and allowing one run in a relief appearance in 2018.
The Braves are playing with a short bench. Reserve outfielder Matt Joyce is on the bereavement list to attend a funeral and was replaced by Kyle Wright, a starting pitcher who will be used as a reliever during his stay with the club.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 25, 2019