Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, Charlie Morton
Not quite the star power that the Mets boast, but Max Fried and Spencer Strider may be just as deadly of a combo for St. Louis to deal with.
Fried is an NL Cy Young candidate, with a 2.48 ERA in 163.1 innings this season. Strider has broke on the scene this year and is the favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year, sporting a 2.69 ERA and 183 SO in 120.2 innings of work. On top of that, the duo has dominated St. Louis this season.
Strider, in 12 innings of work against the Cardinals, has 19 SO while allowing just 1 run on 8 hits. Fried is his only start against St. Louis went 6 shutout innings with 4 SO while allowing just 5 hits. St. Louis has their work cut out for them if they are going to win games that Fried or Strider start. Luckily, Wainwright and Montgomery have the ability to keep the Braves in check, but it will be tough.
Kyle Wright is another name that does not carry a ton of excitement but is pitching like one of like a legit playoff starter with a 3.23 RA in 26 starts this season. Veteran Charlie Morton has struggled this season with a 4.01 ERA, but has 16 career starts in the postseason and a 3.35 ERA, making him an extremely valuable 4th starter.
While it would make sense to lean Atlanta with their elite top of their rotation and really solid 3-4 combo, the fact that the Cardinals 1-4 may be a more balanced unit. Flaherty and Mikolas can both easily pitch like the number one starter of this staff, meaning they probably get a slight edge in those later matchups.