The Atlanta Braves look to secure their spot in the playoffs with a strong showing against the Miami Marlins. Join us as we follow each game of their three game set, sharing our MLB picks along the way. Is their betting value to be found?
By: Willie Bee -
Will the rubber game today in Miami between the Marlins and Atlanta Braves
live up to the hype of an expected pitchers duel?
All signs certainly point to the Hump Day affair at Marlins Park being a low-scoring battle. Today's
baseball betting card is overflowing with action following a couple of rainouts
on Tuesday along the Eastern seaboard, and the matchup in Miami shares
low-total with a 6.5 run mark, same as out in San Francisco where the Giants
host the Colorado Rockies.
The visiting Braves are once again favored in the contest in
the -135 to -140 range, right where they were priced for the first two games that
the clubs split. Kris Medlen gets the call for Fredi Gonzalez's group while
Josh Johnson is up for Ozzie Guillen and the Fish.
It's tough to argue with the total that is being offered
given how the two pitchers have been performing, and equally tough to question
Medlen being favored on the MLB odds board. Atlanta has won each of his nine
starts since Medlen joined the rotation at the end of July, and he has yet to
allow more than two runs in any of the outings with a 0.86 ERA in that span. That's
not a misprint, 0.86 ERA.
Perhaps even more impressive than the ERA is the 66:8
strikeout-to-walk ratio the unassuming righthander has in those nine
assignments. And to think it all began with a winning performance against these
Marlins on July 31 which was preceded by Medlen working three shutout innings
in relief against them six days earlier.
Johnson's recent numbers aren't near as impressive as
Medlen's, but then, whose are? Still, with the exception of one rough-up in LA
against the Dodgers, the big righty has been pitching pretty well. It's just
that Johnson has not been getting the help from his bullpen and lineup to turn
his efforts into wins as Miami
is 1-6 his last seven starts despite his 3.71 ERA.
All signs point to a 2-1, 3-2 game tonight in Miami, but count me among
the stubborn old fools who will play the total the other way.
pick: Over 6.5 (-105)
By: Willie Bee -
Paul Maholm has been on a rollercoaster ride the last month
with a good outing followed by a bad outing. If that trend continues Tuesday night, we should see a solid performance
by the former star at Mississippi
Is that enough of a reason to back the Atlanta Braves on
Tuesday when the MLB odds have them listed as -135 chalk in the middle game of
their series against the Miami Marlins? Probably not, but coupled with Atlanta being on a good run and facing a
pitcher its lineup rocked earlier this summer, then we have the basis for a
Nate Eovaldi is scheduled for Miami on Tuesday, and the Game 2 total is set
at 8.5 with a level price OVER/UNDER.
Atlanta pared another half-game
off idle Washington's
lead in the NL East, and increased its hold at the top of the wild card race to
7.5 in the process. But the 7-5 triumph
wasn't without some tense moments after the Braves bolted to a 6-0 advantage
before holding on to win their fourth straight, and 11th in the last 15.
Maholm was banged around last week in Milwaukee where the Brewers got to him for
eight runs (6 earned) before he could finish the fifth inning. This will be his first start against Miami
since joining the Braves, and he shut them down earlier this year while still
part of the Cubs rotation with eight innings of 1-run baseball.
Eovaldi is seeing the Braves for the second time since
coming to the Marlins in the trade that sent Hanley Ramirez west to Los Angeles. The young righty out of Alvin, Texas was
treated rudely at Atlanta in early August (2 IP, 6 ER), and the Fish have won
just one time in his four assignments at Marlins Park since he donned a Miami
There's a good chance that Brian McCann will catch Maholm
tonight after the backstop missed the past few games with a bum hammy. Adding another left-handed bat to the lineup
can only be a good thing for the Braves against Eovaldi, and my play will be on
continue its recent ways.
My pick: Braves
By: Willie Bee -
Last week we wondered if the Phillies were about to charge
into the playoffs a la the 2011 Cardinals. That silly notion was answered by Philadelphia's
inability to do any better than a split in Houston over the weekend against the worst
team in the majors.
Now we can't help but wonder if the best teams in the two
leagues are the Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics and, if so, how much FOX
executives will cry if that pair does indeed meet in the World Series. You've got to believe very few folks outside Georgia
and the Bay Area would give a hoot, but at least Joe Buck and Tim McCarver
could drone on about Chipper Jones' retirement and the fact Brad Pitt played
Billy Beane in Moneyball.
Atlanta continues its march
towards the postseason when the Braves hit the road this week beginning with a
stop in Miami
for three against the Marlins. The
Braves are favorites in the low -130s for Monday's series opener with the
baseball odds boards showing 7.5 for the total, and favoring the UNDER.
Unlike last season when they collapsed in the final month to
cough up a spot in the playoffs, the Braves are hitting their stride this
September with a 10-5 mark so far and own a very comfortable 7-game lead in the
National League wild card ranks. Atlanta begins this trip having just swept the Nationals
to pull within 5.5 games of NL East-leading Washington, and did what very clubs have
done this season by out-pitching the Nats in the 3-game set.
also gets to kick this road trip off with veteran Tim Hudson on the hill, and
that has generally been a very good thing over the years for the Braves when
they face the Marlins. On the verge of
completing his 14th MLB season, Hudson
is 13-4 lifetime against the Fish with a 2.81 ERA in 24 starts covering more
than 150 innings. He has added to that
dominance this season with wins in both of his assignments vs. Miami
while sporting a 1.69 ERA, though both of those did come at Turner Field with
Monday's contest his first appearance at Marlins Park.
While the Braves have done well so far this month, September
hasn't been all that great for Hudson. He's 1-2 in three starts, one a fine showing
in a win at home vs. Colorado
and the other two not so fine against the Phils and Brewers.
We noted Miami's
struggles last week when covering
their series with the Phillies, so there's not much reason to rehash that
right now. Suffice to say the Marlins
underachieved after a lot of hype entering 2012, and Ozzie Guillen's tenure
with the team could be short-lived.
will send Wade LeBlanc to the hill for his third start since rejoining the
rotation at the beginning of September. It has been a month since he was on the winning end of any decision, and
even that outing in Colorado
wasn't much to crow about (5 IP, 5 ER).
LeBlanc has seen the Braves once as a starter and twice as a
reliever, taking the loss in one of the games that he came out of the
bullpen. The start in Atlanta came with him on a short pitch count,
and he was unable to make it last long enough to get through the fifth. In his favor tonight is a rather lackluster
28-29 record for the Braves against southpaws.
One injury note for the Braves concerns catcher Brian
McCann. The backstop is not expected to
be in the lineup on Monday as he deals with some soreness in his right
hamstring. Look for a Tuesday or
possibly Wednesday return for the 6-time all-star.
Atlanta has owned the season series at 9-3, and really enjoyed
playing in the Marlins' new digs with a 5-1 mark at Miami. One of the wins on this diamond was Hudson's July 24 start
opposite LeBlanc. The totals have split in the previous six games played at Marlins Park.
A -135 price on Hudson
almost seems too good to pass up, even with his up-&-down performance of
late. Maybe it is too good to be true,
but count me among those falling into the trap if it is, as I am adding the Braves to my MLB picks in this series opener.
My pick: Braves