Fox Saturday Baseball Predictions: Atlanta Braves vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview 7/23/11
After taking the first game of this three game set in MLB betting action, the Atlanta Braveswill look to become the second team in the National League to get to the 60 win mark on the season at the expense of the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ballpark.
Right now, Atlanta is the one team that seemingly no one wants to run into just because of how good this pitching staff is. It never seems as though there is a day off, and when you combine that with one of the best bullpens in the majors, you’ve got a team that is just awfully tough to beat. Righty Derek Lowe is probably the weak link of the bunch now, and he is going to be on the bump on Saturday afternoon. Lowe has led his team to a 12-9 record this year, but the truth of the matter is that teams are scoring 0.8 runs per game more against him and his bullpen than the Braves are scoring. Lowe has been awfully average of late, allowing four runs in each of his last two starts. One was good enough for a win, while the other led to a brutal 14-1 defeat to the Philadelphia Phillies. The last time this righty faced off with the Reds, he allowed five runs in just 3.1 innings of work before getting the hook, but the team bailed him out for a 7-6 win.
The Reds are really going in the wrong direction right now, but though they are just 48-51 overall, they are still at least plausibly in the race in the NL Central, 4.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers. Unfortunately, there are still two other teams to top in the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, so without a nice winning streak down the stretch of July here, it’s going to be difficult to see General Manager Walt Jocketty really making the moves to try to get this team to a second straight division title. This is a team that is trying to get more arms in its rotation, so things are definitely thin at the moment. Homer Bailey will get the ball from Manager Dusty Baker on Saturday. He is 4-4 on the year, but he only has nine starts to his credit. Bailey has pitched relatively well, posting a 1.17 WHIP and a 3.74 ERA in his 55.1 innings of work. However, much like Lowe, he has been an ‘over’ pitcher, going 6-3 for the ‘over’ in those starts. However, Bailey is 17-5 in his last 22 home starts for Cincinnati.
Atlanta Braves @ Cincinnati Reds Pick: We just don’t see why the Braves are underdogs in this one on the MLB odds. The boys from the Queen City just aren’t playing that well right now, and in the end, we tend to believe that the Braves +105 have some great value to win this series before getting to Sunday’s finale.