After finally getting a scheduled day off for the first time in a while, the Braves are set to continue their rollercoaster phase of the season with a trip to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals.
For the third time this season, the Braves will have to deal with Jon Lester being the starting pitcher for the opposing team. This time, Lester will be wearing a uniform with redbirds on it instead of a uniform sporting a curly “W” logo. Either way, the Braves didn’t exactly light up Lester during his previous two starts with the Nationals — the first start ended with the Braves picking up three runs on four hits over five innings back on May 6, then Lester clamped down and held the Braves to just one run over five hits as he made it two outs into the sixth inning.
Outside of pitching seven really strong innings against the Marlins back on July 19, July wasn’t exactly a banner month for the veteran hurler. Still, the Cardinals must have seen something they liked in Lester since they went out and added him to their pitching depth ahead of the trade deadline. Lester hasn’t really been great all season if we’re being honest, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if the Braves found themselves struggling to figure out Lester for a third time this season. Hopefully the third time around will result in the Braves figuring out what Lester has to offer and punishing him accordingly.
Meanwhile, Max Fried will be getting the ball to start tonight’s game for the Braves. If Braves fans are worried about Lester befuddling the Braves then Cardinals fans may be just as leery of Fried as he takes the mound this evening. When he last saw St. Louis earlier this season, Fried had one of his best starts of the season where he threw seven innings and only gave up one run with two hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. The Braves went on to win that game in comfortable fashion and it would be really lovely if there was a repeat of that game from June 18.
With that being said, things have changed significantly for the Braves since that game in mid-June. Gabe Burns summed it up pretty nicely with this tweet pointing out all of the new faces who are putting on Braves caps during this season:
What if I told you in February these players would be Braves in August?— Gabe Burns (@GabeBurnsAJC) August 3, 2021
Yeah, it’s been a weird season for sure. Also, we’re probably in the weirdest stage of this season since the Braves have been locked in a “loss-win” pattern since returning from the All-Star break. Back on July 16, the Braves lost to the Rays 7-6. They lost to Milwaukee on Sunday, and if the pattern continues then what you just read above when it comes to the pitching matchups may not matter at all if all of this is written in the stars.
The Braves are currently on a historic run of mediocrity and tonight we’re going to see if it continues or if we finally see them go on a streak of some sort — unfortunately, that would mean consecutive losses if the pattern broke today. So I guess we’re rooting for the see-saw movement to continue, then? Again, it’s been a weird year.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, August 3, 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network