Major League Baseball

Cardinals gear up for Braves rookie phenom Soroka

mlb13BRAVES (29-23) AT CARDINALS (25-25)
7:15 p.m. ET; FOX, MLB.TV

Here’s the sort of rookie season Atlanta Braves right-hander Mike Soroka is having: He allowed one run in eight innings against the San Francisco Giants last week, and his ERA went up.

The first-round draft pick from 2015 will look to continue his dominant ways on Saturday when the Braves play the second game of a three-game series at St. Louis.

He will be opposed by the Cardinals rookie right-hander Dakota Hudson (3-3, 4.40 ERA).

The Braves won the series opener 5-2 on Friday night when Dansby Swanson hit a pair of home runs in support of Mike Foltynewicz, who earned his first win of the season.

Soroka, 21, is coming off an impressive start in a 4-1 win at San Francisco. He retired the first 15 batters he faced and limited the Giants to two hits. The only negative was the end of his 61-inning streak without allowing a home run. That run caused his ERA to rise to 1.01.

“You’re always expecting to win when he’s out there,” Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said.

Soroka said, “Mentally, I was in one of the best places I’ve ever been. We just attacked from pitch one and we didn’t take our foot off the gas.”

Soroka, who has a history of shoulder problems, is being monitored closely by the team. Manager Brian Snitker did not consider letting the rookie try to finish the game, even though he had only thrown 94 pitches.

“I’m not going to push him,” Snitker said. “I’m going to be like that. It’s for the future.”

Soroka beat the Cardinals on May 15 when he threw seven shutout innings. He has not allowed more than two runs in any of his seven starts this season.

Hudson beat the Texas Rangers in his last start on May 18. He pitched six innings and allowed two runs in earning his first win since April 27. The 24-year-old was able to meet the challenge of dealing with a lineup stacked with lefty hitters thanks to some advice from pitching coach Mike Maddux.

“It’s just about how I approach it and my execution,” Hudson said. “I had a good meeting with Maddux, and it was not about what the lefties are doing but what I’m doing with the lefties. I think execution was a big part of that, and he gave me confidence going into the start. I feel like I’m getting better out there.”

He is likely to see three lefties (Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Brian McCann) and two switch hitters (Ozzie Albies, Johan Camargo) when the Braves post their lineup. Hudson did not face the Braves when the teams met two weeks ago in Atlanta.

He has made one career appearance against Atlanta, tossing 1 2/3 innings and allowing one run in a relief appearance in 2018.

The Braves are playing with a short bench. Reserve outfielder Matt Joyce is on the bereavement list to attend a funeral and was replaced by Kyle Wright, a starting pitcher who will be used as a reliever during his stay with the club.

–Field Level Media

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