The St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves split the first two games of their NLDS matchup in Atlanta. Sunday, the series shifted to St. Louis' Busch Stadium. The best-of-five series became a best-of-three, and the Cardinals entered Sunday with home-field advantage.
Now, let's set the scene with some essentials.
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How to watch
Date: Sunday, Oct. 6 | Time: 4:10 p.m. ET
Location: Busch Stadium (St. Louis)
TV: TBS | Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: ATL -115 | STL +105 | O/U: 8.5
Starting pitchers: RHP Adam Wainwright (STL) vs. RHP Mike Soroka (ATL)
Follow: CBS Sports App
On paper, the pitching matchup is advantage Braves. Soroka was one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, not just one of the best rookies, but he has already thrown a career high 174 1/3 innings in 2019. Atlanta gave him as much extra rest as possible down the stretch and Game 3 will be only his second start since Sept. 19. Does that mean Soroka will be fresh and rested in Game 3, or rusty? The bet here is it will be the former.
The Cardinals have done a number on the Braves bullpen in the first two games of the series, and Atlanta will be without top setup man Chris Martin the rest of the postseason. Martin hurt his oblique while warming up in Game 1. Closer Mark Melancon faced 14 batters in Games 1 and 2 and retired only five of them. St. Louis has mounted late-inning comeback rallies all season, and I reckon the Braves faithful won't be comfortable with a lead until the final out is recorded in Game 3.
Even with a sketchy relief crew, we're picking the Braves. They're sending their ace to the mound in Game 3, and their power-laden lineup matches up well with Wainwright at this point of his career. Ronald Acuna and Josh Donaldson have big games, and Soroka shuts the Cardinals down en route to a Game 3 win and a 2-1 series lead. That's our official prediction.
Pick: Braves 6, Cardinals 1