The St. Louis Cardinals (91-71), champions of the NL Central, meet the Atlanta Braves (97-64), champions of the NL East, in the NLDS that starts Thursday in Atlanta. For a complete tale-of-the-tape preview, click here.
While the Braves finished six games ahead of the Cardinals during the regular season, their run differentials suggest the teams are much closer in quality. The Braves concluded the regular season with a run differential of plus-112, while the Cardinals checked in at plus-102. As well, the Cardinals achieved their run differential against a somewhat tougher schedule, as measured by opponents’ average winning percentage.
Coming in, health is the big question for the favored Braves. Star center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was shut down late in the regular season with groin strain. He’s expected to be in the lineup for NLDS, but whether the injury will affect him at the plate, in the field, and on the bases is the unknown. As well, linchpin first baseman Freddie Freeman has been dealing with bone spurs in his right elbow, and the condition worsened in September. Acuna and Freeman are the Braves’ two best hitters, and they’ll likely need them at something close to full strength if they’re going to prevail in this series.
Below you’ll find the complete schedule for the Cardinals and Braves series. Do note that the official start times for the later games have not yet been announced.
How to watch
Date: Thursday, Oct. 3 | Time: 5:02 p.m. ET
Location: SunTrust Park (Atlanta, GA)
Odds: ATL: -135 | STL: +154 | O/U: 9
Pitchers: Miles Mikolas (STL) vs. Dallas Keuchel (ATL)