Game Preview: St. Louis Cardinals (14-7) at Atlanta Braves (10-10)



St. Louis Cardinals (14-7) at Atlanta Braves (10-10)

Pitching matchup: Adam Wainwright (2-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Javier Vazquez (2-1, 2.63 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m. EDT

Location: Turner Field, Atlanta

TV: Peachtree TV Radio: 640 WGST

Weather: Partly Cloudy, 78 degrees

Twitter: Tomahawk Take

It took eight innings for the Atlanta Braves (10-10) to get on the scoreboard last night, but the key hit couldn’t have come at a better time.

Left fielder Matt Diaz drove a ground ball past a diving Khalil Greene into centerfield for a two-run single that became the decisive blow in Atlanta’s 2-1 victory. It was the tenth time this season of the 20 games already played where the Braves have scored less than three runs in a game.

Despite the limited offense, the one-run win does setup the opportunity for Atlanta to take the series from the St. Louis Cardinals (14-7) tonight in the series finale.

On the mound to do just that for Atlanta will be Javier Vazquez (2-1, 2.63 ERA). The right-hander has won his last two starts in dominating fashion. He has allowed just one earned run over his past 12 innings and has recorded 29 strikeouts in his last 18 innings. The 33-year old is averaging just over 12 strikeouts in nine innings — fourth best in the Major Leagues.

Vazquez hasn’t faced the Cardinals since the 2006 season when he was a member of the Chicago White Sox. He tossed six innings of two-run ball on seven hits.

Opposite Vazquez will be former-Brave Adam Wainwright (2-0, 2.70 ERA). The right-hander, who was drafted by Atlanta in the first round of the 2000 draft,  made his best start of the season on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs . He threw seven innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out six and walking just one. The 27-year old has also gone at least five innings in all four of his starts this year.

Wainwright has overpowered the Braves in his 24 career innings against the team, posting a minuscule 1.12 ERA. He has a sinker that clocks in a 93 mph and a fantastic overhand curveball that can give hitters fits. His changeup and slider are major league average, which left-handed batters tend to take advantage of.

Chipper Jones (3-for-5) and David Ross (2-for-9) have had the greatest success against Wainwright of the Atlanta starters.