Sunday, April 10, 2016

Wainwright, Cardinals seek sweep in Atlanta

With a seven-game road trip looming, the Braves will have one final chance to nab a win on their opening homestand when they host the Cardinals on Sunday in a 1:35 p.m. ET game. Atlanta is looking to avoid its first 0-5 start since 1988, when the Braves lost their first 10.
The Cardinals, swept in their opening series, will be trying to do the same to the Braves, against whom their offense has awakened the past two nights. After scoring seven runs in their three-game series against the Pirates, the Cardinals reached that total in each of the first two games in this series.
St. Louis will have its ace on the mound, too, as Adam Wainwright returns following a pedestrian season debut. He cleaned up his mechanics over the past week by repeating his delivery in front of a mirror. The start will be somewhat sentimental for Wainwright, given that it will be his last at Turner Field. A Georgia native and former Braves farmhand, Wainwright is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in eight games (five starts) in Atlanta.
He'll be opposed by Braves right-hander Williams Perez, who displayed his potential last year as he produced a 2.14 ERA through his first seven career starts. That momentum was derailed by a left foot injury, though Perez finished his rookie year by posting a 2.34 ERA over his final five starts. This will mark his 2016 debut.
Things to know about this game
• The only Braves position player to have taken Wainwright deep is Jeff Francoeur, who is still awaiting his first start of the season. Francoeur, 5-for-23 against Wainwright, has more hits off the Cardinals' ace than anyone else on Atlanta's roster.
• Cardinals manager Mike Matheny would not commit to whether center fielder Randal Grichuk would be back in the lineup on Sunday. Grichuk, 1-for-14 with eight strikeouts in four games, used Saturday to try to free his mind by taking dozens of extra pregame swings.
• Wainwright (29th overall) and Braves utility man Kelly Johnson (38th) were both selected by Atlanta in the first round of the 2000 Draft. They played most of their first four professional seasons together and have maintained a strong friendship.

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