MLB Matchup of the Week: NLDS Game 1-Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals

The 2019 Major League Baseball Playoffs is set to begin this week, with a Wild Card game scheduled to kick things off in each league. One of the NLDS matchups is set, and that is where we find the MLB Matchup of the Week. The Atlanta Braves will be hosting the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday in game one of what will be a terrific best-of-five first round series.

Atlanta got to enjoy the final week of the regular season, and were able to give several of their key players some rest. The Braves finished the 2019 regular season with a record of 97-65 and cruised to a National League East Division title this season. St. Louis had to sweat it out until the final day of the regular season, but they wound up winning the NL Central Division. The Cardinals finished the regular season with a record of 91-71 to win the division by one game over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Goldschmidt Powering Cardinals Offense

The St. Louis Cardinals brought in Paul Goldschmidt to be the leader of their inconsistent offense, and he has done just that. Goldschmidt led the team with 34 home runs and 97 runs batted in this season, and will be a tough out for the Braves to get. The Cardinals also have a ton of young players who have provided a lift this season. Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader might not be household names, but they can carry the Cardinals to victory this season.

St. Louis has yet to announce a starting pitcher for this game, but it will likely be Miles Mikolas or Dakota Hudson. Mikolas went 9-14 with a 4.16 earned run average this season, but was the ace of the Cardinals staff a season ago. Hudson went 16-7 as a starter this season, but has no playoff experience. The Cardinals do have some question marks in their bullpen and that could be a problem in this series.

Braves Have Loads of Young Talent

The Atlanta Braves have a roster that is full of young talent, but none better than Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna led the team with 41 home runs this season, and also had 37 stolen bases to lead the team. Veteran Freddie Freeman drove in a team-high 121 runs in 2019, and the Braves have one of the deepest lineups in baseball. Atlanta will be facing a tough pitching staff in this series, but they have scored runs all season long.

Dallas Keuchel is expected to be the game one starter for the Braves in this series, and he wasn't even on their roster to begin the series. Keuchel does have plenty of playoff experience in pitching for the Houston Astros, but he will be facing a red-hot lineup in this game. The veteran lefty went just 8-8 with a 3.75 earned run average during the regular season, but he won't be afraid to take the ball on a big stage.

Atlanta Wins NLDS Game 1

The St. Louis Cardinals come into this game with a ton of momentum, but they will not have their ace available for this game. Atlanta has been able to set their starting rotation, and it looks as if Dallas Keuchel will start in game three. The Cardinals offense has been scoring runs of late, but the Braves have been an offensive juggernaut all season long. Look for the Braves to come out strong in this series and earn the game one win.Bet the Atlanta Braves over the St. Louis Cardinals in the MLB Matchup of the Week.