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Braves vs. Cardinals: Atlanta Looks To Improve Playoff Odds In St. Louis

The Braves can essentially clinch a playoff spot with a big series in St. Louis this weekend. We have the full breakdown of the lineup, pitching matchups, and more inside...

The Atlanta Braves can essentially clinch the NL wild card this weekend with a big weekend in St. Louis. While they technically won't clinch, winning at least one game would put their magic number down to 10. There is still a chance the Cardinals could go on a crazy stretch of 15-1 or something the final three weeks, but that's pretty unlikely at this point. And even if they did, it might not be enough to catch the Braves even if the team struggles down the stretch. 

Let's take a closer look at the 76-67 Cardinals:

MVPujols:


Albert Pujols

#5 / First Base / St. Louis Cardinals

6-3

230

R

R

Jan 16, 1980

 


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Albert Pujols 128 499 91 147 25 0 34 85 56 51 7 1 .295 .367 .549

Do you want to know something that's really scary? Even with those numbers, this season is by far the worst year of Albert Pujols' career. He'll likely end his season with an fWAR of 5.5 or so, which is stellar for anyone other than Pujols. For a player who put up at least 7.5 'wins' the last nine years, a season like the one he's having in 2011 is pretty weak. The nerve of some people, thinking they can have all-star-caliber years even when they struggle a bit.

Pitching Matchups:

Friday, 8:15 -- Randall Delgado vs. Edwin Jackson

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Randall Delgado 0-1 3 3 0 0 0 0 15.0 12 8 7 3 6 10 4.20 1.20
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Edwin Jackson 4-2 8 8 0 0 0 0 52.1 60 26 20 8 14 35 3.44 1.41

Saturday, 7:15 -- Derek Lowe vs. Jaime Garcia

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Derek Lowe 9-13 30 30 0 0 0 0 168.1 182 92 87 11 65 124 4.65 1.47
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jaime Garcia 11-7 28 28 2 2 0 0 170.0 184 88 69 13 47 138 3.65 1.36

Sunday, 2:15 -- Tim Hudson vs. Jake Westbrook

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Tim Hudson 14-9 29 29 1 1 0 0 189.0 162 75 66 14 51 136 3.14 1.13
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jake Westbrook 11-8 31 29 0 0 0 0 166.1 188 93 86 16 62 93 4.65 1.50

Chipper Jones, No. 2 Hitter?

Chipper Jones

#10 / Third Base / Atlanta Braves

6-4

210

B

R

Apr 24, 1972

With the lineup in a funk the last few weeks, Fredi Gonzalez decided to hit Chipper Jones second in the batting order. In the doubleheader on Thursday, the Braves scored a total of 11 runs. Once again on Friday, Jones is hitting 2nd and Martin Prado is down to the sixth spot. Will it continue to work? I like the idea of it.

Lineup For Friday:

Bourn - CF

Jones - 3B

McCann - C

Uggla - 2B

Freeman - 1B

Prado - LF

Heyward - RF

Wilson - SS

Delgado - P

It appears Alex Gonzalez is just getting a game off tonight, though we'll update you if any injury news is announced.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.