The Braves have gotten off to another hot start and had their way with Cardinals pitching on Monday. Will that trend continue on Tuesday? Untested starter Dylan Dodd is going up against St. Louis veteran Steven Matz in what could be a tougher test for Atlanta. The Cardinals are favored at -140 on the moneyline, with the over/under at 8.5 runs.
Let’s make predictions for Tuesday’s matchup and break down why the Cardinals are positioned to even the series.
Braves vs. Cardinals Prediction
Both of these lineups have gotten off to a great start this season. It makes more sense to roll with the balanced one that will be going up against a rookie making his MLB debut.
The Cardinals are one of the few teams that can match Atlanta’s power, and the early-season emergence of Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker has made this group that much more formidable around Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. Look for Goldschmidt and Arenado to do some damage against such an inexperienced starter.
Steven Matz’s 2022 season and home run propensity offers little confidence, but with the Cardinals at home and boasting a strong bullpen, Cardinals -1.5 (+155) seems like the better play in what could be a high-scoring game.
Braves vs. Cardinals Prediction: Cardinals -1.5 (+155)
Braves vs. Cardinals Odds
The Cardinals enter as home favorites at -125 on the moneyline. The over/under is 9 runs, and you can get Cardinals -1.5 at +141.
The Cardinals were beset by pitching struggles on Monday against the Braves, but the offense might be in line to bounce back with such inexperience on the mound for Atlanta.
Braves vs. Cardinals Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Braves vs. Cardinals.
Dylan Dodd vs. Veteran Cardinals Lineup
Dodd will be making his major-league debut at Busch Stadium, so it’s tough to say much about him beyond what we know from his minor-league days. Dodd did allow nearly nine hits per nine last season but kept home runs low and posted a 2.0 BB/9 rate.
There’s always concern about a rookie making his MLB debut on the road against a lineup with veteran bats like this. Goldschmidt and Arenado are a challenge for any pitcher, and even younger guys such as Gorman and Walker have been raking. This feels like an opportunity for Goldschmidt and Arenado to hit their stride and take advantage of a young pitcher, and that’s a major reason for my Braves vs. Cardinals prediction.
This Cardinals lineup is one of the most complete groups in baseball. It won’t be an easy task for Dodd.
Steven Matz vs. Braves’ Power
The Cardinals can beat up on Dodd and the Braves’ staff all they want – it might not matter if Steven Matz pitches like he did last season. Luckily, it’s only a 48-inning sample size and he was much better in 2021, but home runs have been a problem that has followed Matz around for most of his career.
The former Mets starter has a career mark of 1.4 home runs allowed per nine. That might be an issue against a Braves lineup that is loaded with power hitters.
Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson are already out to two home runs this season, while Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies both homered on Monday. This is an Atlanta lineup that has proven it doesn’t need any time to get up to speed, and the Cardinals need Matz to prove he’s not the pitcher he was during an injury-marred 2022 season.
Braves vs. Cardinals Starting Lineups
Braves Starting Lineup
RF Ronald Acuna Jr. R
1B Matt Olson L
3B Austin Riley R
C Travis d’Arnaud R
CF Michael Harris II L
2B Ozzie Albies S
DH Marcell Ozuna R
LF Eddie Rosario L
SS Orlando Arcia R
Cardinals Starting Lineup
2B Brendan Donovan L
LF Alec Burleson L
1B Paul Goldschmidt R
3B Nolan Arenado R
C Willson Contreras R
DH Nolan Gorman L
CF Tyler O’Neill R
LF Jordan Walker R
SS Tommy Edman S