May 5: Cardinals (16-16) @ Braves (17-13)
Turner Field will play host tonight to a pair of clubs seeking some traction. The Cardinals have spent the first five weeks of the season trying to sustain some momentum on offense. The story has been much the same for the Braves, who enter Monday having lost six straight despite having the National League’s best pitching staff (2.72 ERA) to this point. Atlanta scored one run in each of its games against the Giants over the weekend and has averaged only 3.7 runs per game.
The Cardinals? They’ve averaged 3.6 runs per game. St. Louis’ pitching staff currently ranks third in the NL with a 3.03 ERA.
The numbers suggest this could be a series starved for offense, but both the Braves and Cardinals have more potential than they’ve shown. We’ll see if either can break out this week.
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Manager Mike Matheny moved Yadier Molina to the No. 2 spot in the lineup last night and is apparently going with the if-it-isn’t-broken-don’t-fix-it method. Molina finds himself back hitting second today. Peter Bourjos draws the start in centerfield, his first start since April 26. Bourjos is mired in an 0-for-18 skid, but did put up a tough nine-pitch at-bat in a pinch-hit appearance last night. He is 4-for-10 in his career against Braves starter Aaron Harang.
General manager John Mozeliak has joined the club in Atlanta and is scheduled to address the media later this evening. He should have an update on Jaime Garcia (who exited his rehab start after 28 pitches on Sunday after being hit by a pitch) at that time.
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