The Braves and Cardinals will be back in action this afternoon as the scene shifts to St. Louis for two games. Pitching today for the Braves will be Mike Soroka, and his opponent will be Adam Wainwright for the Cards in a pivotal game three matchup.
For the Braves this year Soroka has been nothing short of unbelieveable as the 22-year-old posted a season that has him in talks to possibly win a Cy-Young award. The Canadian right-hander posted a 2.68 ERA to go along with 142 strikeouts in 174.2 innings pitched. Pair the strikeouts with a groundball rate of over 51% and you have a pitcher that rarely has any trouble on the bases.
This should come as no surprise though as Soroka flew through the minor leagues with a cumulative 2.22 ERA over 361.1 innings before debuting in 2018. Soroka has really been even more incredible on the road this season and that is why he is getting the first road start in St. Louis. Soroka pitched to the tune of a 1.55 ERA in 16 road starts, and the Braves went 7-1 in those games.
Today will be Soroka’s Postseason debut after not pitching in last year’s NLDS due to shoulder trouble. On the other hand, Soroka’s opponent has been pitching in the Postseason since 2006 when Mike was just nine years old.
The 38-year-old Wainwright is on the opposite side of his career from Soroka, but can still be a valuable player in a must win game. He posted a 4.19 ERA this season for St. Louis which is rather pedestrian and his peripherals looked even worse (4.36 FIP) largely due to the amount of homeruns he allowed.
Wainwright posted a 15% HR/FB rate this season, meaning that on average 15% of the flyballs that Wainwright allowed ended up leaving the field. This isn’t a new problem for Wainwright either as he hasn’t posted a *qualifying* season ERA under 4.00 since 2014 which coincidentally is the last time he also posted a HR/FB rate less than 10%.
Wainwright is a native of the Brunswick, Georgia area and is a noted big time UGA fan still to this day. This game is likely one that is personal to him, but with his biggest weakness being the long ball, and with the Braves ability to hit homers in a hurry, this game could get away from him quickly.
The biggest undertone for this game is whether Soroka can be efficient and get through seven or more innings to keep Max Fried in play for a possible game four start. Whatever it takes tonight though, the Braves must win this game. The team could tame quite a few demons with a big offensive output and dominant start by Soroka. Stay tuned.
Atlanta Braves @ St. Louis Cardinals
Sunday, October 6, 2019
4:10 pm EDT
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network, ESPN Radio
Only on TBS