Cardinals Riding Nice Trend vs. Braves in Big Tilt Tuesday

Monday, September 17, 2018 3:53 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 17, 2018 3:53 PM UTC

It’s crunch time in a hard-fought race for the NL playoffs, and we have a free baseball pick for the middle game of a set in Atlanta between the Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.

2018 MLB Record: 79-79-1 (+7.95 units, 1 pending)

St. Louis at AtlantaTuesday, 7:35 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free MLB Pick: Cardinals MLBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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It would take the dominoes falling just right for St. Louis and Atlanta to eventually meet in the postseason. Still, this week’s series in the Big Peach has a playoff feel to it with Tuesday’s tilt finding rookie Austin Gomber (5-1, 3.78) on the hill for the Cardinals, veteran Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 3.01) going for the Braves, and ESPN on hand to televise the whole affair.

St. Louis entered the set struggling a bit in September (6-9) and tied with Los Angeles for the second NL wild-card spot. The Braves, meanwhile, stumbled a bit in the final two games of their series with the Nationals, but had won 6 straight prior to that and can potentially sew up their first NL East title since 2013 by brooming the Cardinals out of Atlanta.

Sanchez Facing Cardinals For 1st Time Since 2012

St. Louis just avoided being swept at home by the Dodgers with a huge win Sunday night as a small underdog at BetOnline. After being outscored 29-11 by L.A. in the first three games, the Cards got a big lift from veteran Adam Wainwright and a couple of key singles by batterymate Yadier Molina to end a 4-game skid in the 5-0 triumph. Gomber was responsible for one of those losses to the Dodgers, who pelted him for seven runs over three innings in the series opener, and his lone experience against the Braves came in the form of two relief appearances in June for a total of one inning.

The Braves have not benefited from home cooking of late, dropping eight of their last 11 in Atlanta prior to Monday’s matchup. Consistent offense has been one problem, Nick Markakis part of that with three multi-hit games to go with four oh-fer’s over the last week. Sanchez is coming off a fine performance in San Francisco last week as mild chalk on the baseball odds board, but the Braves have dropped three of his last four home assignments with the Venezuelan pitching to a 4.63 ERA in that span.

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Sneaky! @Yadimolina04 smashes a ball down the line, scoring Marcell Ozuna. Our lead increases to 4-0 as we bat in the 6th. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/1SBZkLTUwm

— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 17, 2018
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Cards Have Won Last 6 In The ATL

The Cardinals dominated this rivalry the past two seasons by winning nine of 12, but the Braves put that behind them by sweeping three in St. Louis nearly three months ago, two of the contests skipping past the totals. It’s just the second time the Redbirds have been to SunTrust Park, and they swept the set last season to run their win streak in Atlanta to six. Two of the matchups on the new Braves diamond a year ago went "over," another just scraping "under" an 8½-run total.

Clear skies are forecast for the entire series, the weatherman listing a light NW breeze for Tuesday’s game (out to left). With the visitors having won nine of the last 11, I’ll run with the Cards for my free MLB pick.

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