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McCann and Joyce in Lineup for Game 1, Cardinals sit Carpenter

Both teams prioritize continuity as Game 1 nears.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Braves Game 1 lineup is as expected versus Game 1 Starter Miles Mikolas. As mentioned in the preview, the Braves have not had a ton of luck against Mikolas in the past. Obviously, production from the top of the order will be critical for Atlanta’s hopes of finding success early. However, if the bottom of the order can also contribute, it would add that much more certainty for success. Both Dansby Swanson and Matt Joyce have homered off Mikolas in the past (Freddie Freeman is the only other Brave to have accomplished that, which he has done twice.) If Swanson can continue his good hitting from last week, having him on in front of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies could also allow Atlanta to cause issue on the basepaths. Overall, this lineup should be in a good position to have decent success against Mikolas.

The more interesting Game 1 lineup decisions certainly have been made on the Cardinals’ side of the equation. With Kolten Wong healthy enough to give it a go, the Cardinals seem to have prioritized defense and production by starting Harrison Bader in center with Matt Carpenter on the bench. St. Louis also played some of its best baseball of the season with Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, and Marcell Ozuna in the two, three and four spots of the lineup. As a result, St. Louis seems to be hoping that continuity will allow the top of their order to generate enough production to win along with Bader’s and Wong’s defensive efforts helping to limit Atlanta’s chances.

Furthermore, the presences of Jose Martinez and Carpenter on the Cardinals’ bench could significantly change the late inning dynamics in this matchup. The Cardinals now have two significant offensive sources who can be utilized in high leverage scoring situations. In an environment where decisions are much more matchup based than the regular season, St. Louis’s strategy could pay huge dividends in what will likely be a close game.

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