Braves Preview: Season-opening road trip takes Braves to St. Louis
By Chris Turner
The Atlanta Braves put together a successful opening weekend in Washington, D.C., taking two out of three games from the Nationals to start the 2023 season.
Now, Atlanta continues its trip to open the new campaign with a three-game stop in St. Louis to face the Cardinals. Charlie Morton will make his season debut on Monday across from St. Louis right-hander Jake Woodford.
Morton will hope to put the Braves back into the win column after they struggled in Sunday's series finale with the Nationals.
What to watch for in Monday's game
Redbirds look red-hot
It's a very small sample size, but through three games, the Cardinals bats have been on-fire to start the year.
St. Louis is third in MLB with a .338 team batting average (Braves are fourth), and are top five in total hits this year with 25 after the opening weekend. That offense helped STL take two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Up and down the line-up, almost everyone that has got an at-bat for the Cardinals have been hitting the ball well.
Walker impressing early on
Cardinals RF Jordan Walker has impressed in his first three games at the major league level, recording at least a hit in each game so far this season.
The top-ten prospect raked in AA last year (.306/.388/.898), and followed it up with a very solid Spring Training to make the 26-man roster for St. Louis.
Even as a Braves fan, you can't help but be a little excited to watch this guy play.
Atlanta starting pitching - course correction
Jared Shuster's MLB debut, while not a complete disaster, can't be called a success after the 24-year old allowed four first inning runs and walked five in the Sunday loss to Washington.
Morton takes the ball to hopefully put the Braves rotation back on track after Shuster's rocky start. It wouldn't be the worst thing if he was able to go pretty deep in Monday's game too.
With Kyle Wright on the shelf to start the year and Max Fried soon to hit the injured list, the back half of the Braves rotations somehow has more question marks surrounding it than before. Dylan Dodd is set to make his major league debut on Tuesday in St. Louis, while Wednesday's starter as of this post is still to be determined.
The bullpen being as rested as possible going into the rest of the week would be ideal.
Sean Murphy's no-good, horrible, terrible, bad start
Okay, yes, it's only been two games and eight plate appearances, but Sean Murphy is still searching for his first hit as an Atlanta Brave.
Murphy slid back behind the plate Sunday after being out of the lineup on Saturday. Could we see Brian Snitker try Murphy at Designated Hitter for the first time in 2023 to get his bat going and keep Travis d'Arnaud fresh at Catcher?