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Series Preview 6/29-7/1: Braves vs. Cardinals

The division-leading Braves (I know you didn’t predict that either) come to Busch for three with the Birds

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

After both teams were off on Thursday, the Braves are visiting Busch Stadium for a three-game series this weekend in the Lou.

Entering Friday, the 42-37 Cardinals are 4 12 games behind the 47-33 Brewers for first place in the National League Central, with the Cubs sitting in the middle at 44-35 - 2 12 games behind Milwaukee. The 45-34 Braves sit atop of the NL East, with the Phillies two games back and the Nationals trailing by four.

In Friday’s series opener, Miles Mikolas will square off with Julio Teheran at 7:15 PM Central time. Mikolas ranks sixth in the NL with a 2.69 ERA, one he has maintained across 97 innings. Mikolas has pitched very well at home this season, with only nine earned runs allowed in 48 13 innings in the Gateway City.

Teheran missed time earlier in June with a thumb contusion; nonetheless, he has still made the second-most starts (15) for Atlanta. The 27-year-old Teheran held the Padres hitless back on June 17 through a six-inning outing, during which he fanned 11 batters. Teheran currently has a .213 opponents’ batting average, the lowest of his career.

The middle game of the series on Saturday will feature Luke Weaver at 6:15 PM Central time. In five starts in the month of June, Weaver has a 5.19 ERA in 26 innings of work. Weaver has not logged a quality start since 5/22 and looks to get off on the right note in his first career outing against Atlanta.

Checking in on Luke Weaver

Atlanta’s Brandon McCarthy was expected to start on Saturday, but a recent spur of knee tendinitis has landed him on the disabled list. The team has not confirmed for sure who will make the start, but left-hander Max Fried appears to be the leading candidate.

The series will conclude on Sunday with John Gant and Mike Foltynewicz on the mound at 1:15 PM Central time. Gant debuted in the Majors as a Brave in early 2016 and joined the Cardinals in the Jaime Garcia in December of that offseason. Pitching in place of the injured Michael Wacha, Gant twirled seven shutout innings on 6/25 against the Indians. It was the longest and the best start of the 25-year-old’s career.

Foltynewicz has been very durable for Atlanta. Missing only 10 days (6/16 through 6/25) with right triceps tendinitis, Foltynewicz boasts a 3.09 FIP in 84 innings across 15 starts. In line to earn consideration for his first All-Star nomination, Foltynewicz has a 2.09 ERA in seven road starts, highlighted by his 40 strikeouts and .197 opponents’ batting average in 38 23 innings away from SunTrust Park.